Paper vs. PDF: A data point?

Subject: Paper vs. PDF: A data point?
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "Techwr-L (E-mail)" <TECHWR-L -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>, 'Dick Margulis' <margulis -at- fiam -dot- net>
Date: Mon, 25 Aug 2003 09:20:28 -0400

Dick Margulis reports: <<I just ran across this sentence in a request for
proposal: "[Company] prefers to receive user and reference manuals for the
application(s) in PDF format rather than paper, since paper usually isn't
where the users are." So next time someone complains that by shipping PDF
you are just shifting printing costs to the end user, you can use the above
as a

Playing Devil's Advocate here, but I have to ask myself what "User" prefers.
"Company", in my experience, is pretty damned clueless about what "User"
wants and needs, and usually "prefers" online manuals because they're too
cheap to buy printed copies for everyone who needs one. That, in turn, is
because developers are too cheap to provide the manuals in the first place.

I'll bet you if you dig deeper that those who receive the PDFs actually
print them out--shifting costs to the end user and generating far more paper
and clutter than if they just bought the manuals in the first place. But
that's speculation based on my own experience, not hard data.

--Geoff Hart, geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
(try ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca if you get no response)
Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada
580 boul. St-Jean
Pointe-Claire, Que., H9R 3J9 Canada

"Wisdom is one of the few things that look bigger the further away it
is."--Terry Pratchett


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