"Print on demand" and "Docutech"

Subject: "Print on demand" and "Docutech"
From: Gilda_Spitz -at- markham -dot- longview -dot- ca
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2000 16:51:05 -0400

Our company has always printed our manuals in runs of 200, 300, or 400,
depending on anticipated demand. Sometimes we guess incorrectly and have
lots of books left over by the time we're ready to put out the next version
of the software.

People always get upset about that. I've always had to explain that, due
to economies of scale, it's not that much more expensive to print, say, 300
instead of 200, so you might as well go with the larger quantity. However,
our chairman of the board has asked me to research the concept of "print on

I spoke to our printing house, and they mentioned that the "Docutech
printer" would be cheaper than our current method. They told me they'd get
back to me with more info later this week. In the meantime, I checked the
techwr-l archives, and found some references to Docutech, mostly with
reference to Word.

While I'm waiting to hear from the printer, I'd like some unbiased advice.
Here are my questions:

1. I always thought that small runs would be prohibitively expensive. Does
the Docutech make it reasonable to print 10 or 20 books at a time?
2. We use FrameMaker, not Word. I assume that Docutech works with Frame as
well - is that correct?
3. Instead of providing the printing house with the printed pages, I would
instead generate a ps file from Frame, and send them that ps file - is that
4. We use the Acrobat Distiller printer driver to produce a ps file for
Acrobat. Can we use the same printer driver, or do we need a different one?
(I saw some references in the archives to a special Docutech driver.)
5. Are there any major pros or cons that I should know about?

Thanks in advance.

Gilda Spitz
Manager of Documentation
Longview Solutions Inc.

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