Six years of medicine in four books? They exist and were published by and for students. Romée Snijders and Veerle Smit met studying Medicine at VU Amsterdam and are now the authors and publishers of the Compendium Geneeskunde, a medical bestseller.
The Compendium covers all medical disciplines, from health law to cardiology. Snijders and Smit have not gone unnoticed in the media either, notching up three appearances in De Wereld Draait Door, a major Dutch talkshow. Now they have already sold 55,000 copies of the Compendium, we joined up with the ladies to ask them how things were going.
Tell me. What is the Compendium Geneeskunde?
Veerle: “Romée and I came up with the Compendium Geneeskunde 2.5 years ago. It’s an overview of medical science and you can use it throughout your studies. It describes all illnesses and conditions, but also contains information about general diagnostics. In fact, you’ll find everything you need to know as a junior doctor in the Compendium, but from a very practical perspective. We came up with our very own structure and have our own icons and images.”
You launched your own publishing company for the Compendium. Why?
Romée: “We really wanted to remain independent from other publishers. All textbooks look the same nowadays and we wanted to be different: we wanted to do it our way. Having our own publishing company let us publish something that we thought was both very useful and great-looking. It was also very important to us that we didn’t link up with a particular university, as it might have given the impression that the Compendium is only for students of that university. That’s not the case, though: the Compendium Geneeskunde is for everyone.”
‘Back then, people used to laugh at us and told us it would never happen.’
You’ve now appeared as Matthijs van Nieuwkerk’s guests three times. How was that?
Veerle: “It was unbelievable. When we had our first media appearance, I remember saying to Romée: ‘Well, if Matthijs has invited us for his show, we must have really made it.’ People used to laugh at us and told us it would never happen, but a year later we were asked for a major interview. We were a little nervous, as you might expect, but everything went very well. We were asked to return another two times to be on the jury for a medicine quiz. Matthijs and his editors love this item, so there’s a good chance that it’ll become a fixed concept.”
You’re now working on Compendium 2.0. What can we expect?
Romée: “Compendium 2.0 will be a revised edition. All chapters will be rewritten and we’ll be adding more images. We also want to publish our books internationally and that’s what we’ll be doing now. We’re working on an international version for the American/International market, based on all the relevant guidelines. We hope that the new edition will let us help even more students with their degrees or jobs.”
And you’re doing this all by yourselves?
Veerle: “No, not at all. We have a team of all sorts of specialists and designers and we can use all the help we can get! We’re always looking for more graphic designers, artists, specialists and enthusiastic students. Please don’t hesitate to mail us at email@example.com, we’d love to hear from you.”