I’ve been spending a good part of the past eight months working on an experiment in publishing: The Naked Facts series. My son Jackson and I were sitting around one day, despairing of the wide range but generally poor quality of science information available on the internet to non-specialists. Say you’re looking for information on a drug you’ve been prescribed. Either you’re left with package-insert level info prepared by the drug company (and who reads those?), or some anti-drug screed written by alternative health practitioners, or chat rooms, or, if you know how to get them, research articles from journals. With rare exceptions either the info is slanted, or promotional, or too technical for non-specialists to read. So we decided to see if anyone would be interested in short, inexpensive, easy-to-read summaries of the best current knowledge about popular drugs and treatments, something that tried hard to be objective in approach, comprehensive in scope, but a quick, digestible summary of the essentials patients need to know to understand what they’re taking, and to have more productive conversations with their healthcare providers.
We’ve just published #6 in the series, on the world’s bestselling prescription drugs — statins. These are fascinating, sometimes miraculous, sometimes way overprescribed drugs, with a lot of pluses and minuses that most patients — and many physicians — don’t know about.
As an experiment in publishing, the results have been mixed so far. The books are just what I wanted: Simple, solid science, unlike anything else on the market. But sales have been slower than we want (perhaps because as a start-up company, we don’t have much money to put into marketing).