RE: Issues with distribution of technical documents

Subject: RE: Issues with distribution of technical documents
From: "Mike Starr" <writstar -at- wi -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2001 13:38:04 -0500

You mean you DON'T treat developers and engineers like red-headed
stepchildren?? I thought all technical writers did!<grin>

I would be the last one to ADVOCATE documentation as a profit center. But
realistically, in some companies, it can be and it is (witness Microsoft
for example). Every company needs to make a basic philosopical decision as
to how documentation is to be treated, apply that decision and hope for
acceptance among the customers. My own personal philosophy is to provide
printed documentation for every paid product. If it's a software product
that's sold on a per-seat basis, then my opinion is that the sale price for
each seat should include a printed copy of the documentation. That's what I
think the standard pricing model should be. However, I'd also be inclined
to offer customers a per-seat licensing option that didn't include printed
documentation but priced pretty darned close to the price of the product
with the printed documentation. That would be an incentive for the customer
to choose the price with the documentation and if they decided to buy it
without the printed documentation then profit margin would be considerably


Mike Starr WriteStarr Information Services
Technical Writer - Online Help Developer - Technical Illustrator
Graphic Designer - Desktop Publisher - MS Office Expert
Office: (262) 697-6333 - Pager: (414) 318-9509 - Fax: (262) 697-6334
Home (262) 694-1028 - mike -at- writestarr -dot- com -

-----------------------Original Message-----------------------
>From: Lurker writer [mailto:lurker_writer -at- hotmail -dot- com]

>Documentation as a profit center? I may be taking a view without
>awareness of the existence of any actual documentation profit centers, but
>don't see it.
>We live in a widget-driven world, not a documentation driven world. It it
>were true, we could treat developers and engineers like red-headed
>step-children!! (OK, just kidding) True, there may be some markets where
>customers are charged the printing cost of the hard copy manuals, but a
>profit center? This just sounds like an attempt to "wag the dog."
>I may be missing something completely here, and please let me know if I
>but the only way I can see documentation ever being a profit center is if
>you charge $XX dollars for the manual, and then give the product away
>absolutely free of charge.


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