Ramblings: Why my new book “How Healthcare Informatics is Different” is priced at $5000

I received a message recently (a positive one) with reference to my latest book – “How Health Informatics is Different” (ISBN : 978-981-07-4588-2)

The message (in its original words) goes like this;

Dr. Chee,

Lulu has your book listed for $5,000 US dollars. This will probably be a tough sell for a book that is 36 pages long. I am interested in reading this once they fix the pricing error.

Actually, there is no error in the pricing, $5,000 is the listed price (of course, that doesn’t mean binaryHealthCare gets $5,000, Lulu takes a sustainable  chuck of it).

What amuses me however, was the message – for a book of 36 pages, it shouldn’t be priced at $5,000.

Unfortunately, the price of the book is not based on the paper its printed on (which by the way, is of good quality) but rather, the price is for the value of the knowledge the paper contains.

To illustrate further, allow me to retell a story of “$50,000” Chalk mark;

There was an engineer who had an exceptional gift for fixing all things mechanical. After serving his company loyally for over 30 years, he happily retired. Several years later the company contacted him regarding a seemingly impossible problem they were having with one of their multimillion dollar machines.

They had tried everything and everyone else to get the machine to work but to no avail. In desperation, they called on the retired engineer who had solved so many of their problems in the past.

The engineer reluctantly took the challenge. He spent a day studying the huge machine. At the end of the day, he marked a small “x” in chalk on a particular component of the machine and stated, “This is where your problem is”.

The part was replaced and the machine worked perfectly again.

The company received a bill for $50,000 from the engineer for his service. They demanded an itemized accounting of his charges.

The engineer responded briefly: One chalk mark $1 Knowing where to put it $49,999 It was paid in full and the engineer retired again in peace.

At this point, it is important to understand the objective of this book versus the previous two books that I had published.

This book (“How Health Informatics is Different”) is written as part of a “fund raising” initiative. binaryHealthCare is a social enterprise, we often do work for free or way below cost, in order to ensure that we can keep doing what we do, we need to generate some form of revenue to ensure sustainability.

Therefore this book was written, with management consultants in mind (I often work as the consultant’s consultant, helping solution providers, hospital enterprises and ‘Big 4’  consulting firms deal with complicated projects/problems).

In order words, this book will enable management consultants who are interested in (or already trying to work in) healthcare informatics, to actually uncover/understand the missing link, they can then apply their generic knowledge (e.g. from their MBA etc.) and actually start to make sense in their ramblings.

My previous books, were sold at less than $40 (I get less than 50% of that and remember, I plant a tree for every book sold) and the value they bring is to enable readers to become experts at an extremely low cost. However, those books are written as part of the awareness and empowerment initiatives.

I have so many people telling me that my second book empowered them to become experts in VNA, some of them utilised my materials for solution designs, Some utilise the knowledge to develop and sell their VNA solutions and others uses my book as a benchmark on what VNA to purchase. (One even use the knowledge and establish himself as an expert in VNA by merely quoting my works).

The VNA book can easily be sold for 10 times more and still be considered dirt cheap (because of the value it brings) but profit generation wasn’t the objective of that book, awareness and empowerment was.

However, this book (“How Healthcare Informatics is Different”) is not written for that in mind, its written to raise funds and this book will empower the “wannabes” to actually understand healthcare informatics better.

Now taking all the above in mind, releasing such precious knowledge actually endangers my livelihood (I am an eHealth Consultant – and a pretty renown one) as I am giving the ‘secret sauce’ for much lesser than $5,000 (remember, Lulu takes a huge chunk off).

Therefore, I am actually not worried if this book doesn’t sell well since I do not want too many potential competitors to suddenly understand Healthcare Informatics, just a few will do because binaryHealthCare doesn’t need a couple of millions from this fund raising initiative, just a couple of thousands for a particular project we hope to kick-start. (In fact, I might take the book down once we get enough funding).

I hope this helps clarify why my latest book – “Why Healthcare Informatics is Different” is priced at $5,000.

Want to truly understand Healthcare Informatics? Try reading “How Health Informatics is Different” (ISBN : 978-981-07-4588-2).

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