Give 'em books

Subject: Give 'em books
From: Mark Levinson <mark -at- CRABAPPLE -dot- BITNET>
Date: Fri, 22 Apr 1994 09:57:13 IDT

Or you could send one set of manuals plus PostScript files if the users
find they need more.

** That very idea is floating around my own company, as if two of the
much-heard refrains at our own site weren't "Who took the manual?"
and "Who's tying up the printer?"

Once someone does run your PostScript, of course, that presumably
means an 8.5-x-11 one-sided printout in a ring binder, not only
more arboricidal but also probably much clumsier to work with than
the hardcopy your company distributes. (Or if 8/5-x-11 in ring
binders is what your company distributes, then tsk tsk.)

Frustration for the user who needs information, finds it hard to
locate or tiring to read in the help, and can't be bothered to
produce a printout for the sake of a small immediate need.
Frustration for the second-class citizens who have
on-site printouts instead of professional books.
Sure they could put in a purchase order for extra copies of
the real manual, but-- in any company I know, at least-- instead
they'll just sit there and develop a grudge against your product.

It's easy to think of all the money a supplier can save by not
sending manuals, but such a thought is based on the insulting
assumption that the customer believes the product is worth exactly
the same amount of money whether a manual accompanies each copy
or not.

(A side remark regarding retail software: When one of my Microsoft
manuals went astray, I called the company and asked to purchase a
replacement. "Sure, buy another legal copy of the software and
you'll get another manual," they sneered. Though its programs have
online help, Microsoft evidently still considers its manuals
valuable enough to be denied to suspected software pirates.)
Mark L. Levinson, SEE Technologies, Box 544, Herzlia, Israel
mark -at- dcl-see -dot- co -dot- il | voice +972-9-584684, ext. 230 | fax +972-9-543917

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