Saunders Pharmaceutical Word Book

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I would love to get your book on CD-ROM. Do you have any plans for releasing it in electronic form?

A: You’re two to five years late in asking this question! We HAD an electronic version available from 2007 to 2010, but the publisher decided to discontinue publication of the CD because of low sales volume. We (the authors) had little input and zero control over that decision. They claimed they were going to transition the CD version to a Web- based version for 2012.

We tried to convince them that the best way to insure the success of a Web-based product would be to move existing CD customers over to the Web. That is, to discontinue the CD only when they are ready to simultaneously offer a Web- based product as a replacement. Having a “lost year” between the CD and Web versions — when neither electronic product is available — makes no sense to us. In fact, it only means that they’ll have to start again from scratch to build customers for the Web version. We pled our case to them, but they did not reconsider.

The Web-based version didn’t happen, and the publisher has made zero progress toward that in the last two years. Frankly, we don’t think they EVER planned to release a Web- based version.

We’re considering moving the database and search routines to our own Web site. The process of moving our database and search routines to our Web site is not difficult. In 2005 Randy designed our drug database and all of the search routines — including our proprietary sound-alike search — then passed it to Elsevier for publication. In fact, Randy also designed ALL of the display formats used on the 2010 CD, four years before Elsevier’s software folks were able to duplicate them! (Randy’s first degree is in computer science, and neither of us were happy with the user interface Elsevier’s people came up with for the 2007, 2008, and 2009 editions of the CD.)

The problem arises with Elsevier’s legal department. Since Elsevier owns the copyright on the information in our books, we are prohibited by law from providing that information to people who have not purchased a book. We are exploring ways to get around this sticky legal issue, such as providing a Web search only to those who own a copy of the 2012 printed edition. That way, Elsevier would get their cut, and we’d simply be providing the same information the purchaser already has, but in a different format — the format Randy originally designed 17 years ago!

The problem then arises of how to verify that a certain person has bought a book. We don’t have access to Elsevier’s sales records, of course, so people would either have to purchase a book directly from us or rip a certain page out of the front of the book and mail it to us. Either way is a hassle, but at least it would keep us from facing a copyright-violation lawsuit from Elsevier.

We’ll keep you posted on our progress in coming up with an electronic alternative for 2012. Check this site once a month or so for the latest news. If you’d like to be notified if/when a Web-based version is available, drop us a note. Our e-mail address can be found in the preface of your book.

For those of you who’ve purchased the 2010 edition of the CD: Your CD did not stop working on December 31, 2010 — it just stopped updating. Your 2010 CD is actually more up-to-date than the 2011 printed edition, but it does not have all the new drugs and updated entries that appear in the 2012 printed edition.

Q: Your home page says that this is the “authors’ web site.” How is that different from the publisher’s web site?

A: You should understand the difference between authors and publishers. Authors write manuscripts. Publishers take the author’s manuscript and turn it into a finished book. The publisher also markets the book and fills orders, either directly or through the book distributor/reseller channels. Authors are paid royalties by the publisher based on the number of books sold. We, the authors, are almost* entirely responsible for the book’s content.

*Actually, we were entirely responsible for the book’s content until 2004, the year the Saunders imprint was sold to Elsevier. The new owners insisted that our book must be “politically correct,” so they overruled the content of the Preface (which used to contain timely information about the state of the pharmaceutical industry) and removed our Authors’ Dedication page, which was our annual proclaimation of the book’s dedication to the Lord Jesus. Actually, our books are still dedicated to the Lord Jesus, and each year we include a dedication page “To the Lord Jesus” in the layout we send to Elsevier. And each year since 2004 they have removed our dedication page before sending it to press. Read the whole story here .

Q: Why have I not received a reply to my e-mail?

A: It could be one of several reasons. We try to answer incoming e-mails quickly, but there are times (such as when we’re traveling or when we’re in the throes of the next edition’s deadlines) that our e-mail responses fall behind. During the hard disk crash of 2002, we worked literally day and night to recover the database so the 2003 edition would publish on time, and our incoming e-mail went without a reply for several months. We don’t have a “staff” of people to produce our books. Every word in every book, every word on this Web site, and every word in every e-mail reply is personally written by either Ellen or Randy.

Another possible reason may be that the subject line of your e-mail hit our spam filters. We’re getting over 500 spam e-mails per week. Therefore, we’ve set spam filters to delete e-mails with blank subject lines, irrelevant subject lines (like “Hi”), subject lines that show that we’ve been included on an e-mail broadacast list (e,g., containing FW: or FWD:), or subject lines that start with “RE:” (indicating a reply to our e-mail) followed by a subject that we didn’t initiate. To make sure your e-mail gets through, please put a relevant topic on the subject line, such as “Question about Cardiotec” or “How do I order the next edition?” or “Where is the dedication?”

And finally, if you haven’t received a reply in a week or two, please resend your e-mail. It may have “slipped through the cracks.” A gentle hint would not be out of line, again on the subject line, such as“Question about Cardiotec (second request).


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