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Subject:Re: 3 ring binders or no? From:"Race, Paul" <pdr -at- CCSPO -dot- DAYTONOH -dot- NCR -dot- COM> Date:Sun, 23 Oct 1994 08:20:00 EST
One interesting side effect of the binder versus perfect-bound (paperback
style) books is that after getting information from us in binders for years,
many of our customers surveyed told us that they thought perfect-bound
documentation "seemed" more professional. The irony is that it is much
cheaper - so much cheaper that for a document we used to completely update
once a year and send change pages every qarter, we discovered that it was
cheaper to send out four new perfect-bound editions every year. Of course
we are looking at relatively small distribution, between 500 and 1500. And
a big cost of the 3-ring binders was the cost of getting the fancy tabs
printed, which (like all other setup costs) goes down in proportion as you
print more documents. But we figured it out something like this:
Printing 1000 binders with color inserts for the covers, and fancy tabs =
Printing 1000 collections of update pages = $2,000, three times a year,
which = $6,000.
So, our annual cost of the binder + update pages solution was in the $24,000
a year range.
In addition, we found that only a very small proportion of the change pages
were ever put into the manuals, so most of our customers were using outdated
documentation most of the year.
Now we could print the entire manual, perfect-bound (using "bleeding" blocks
at the edge of the page to make it easier to find the information, since we
got rid of the tabs)
for about $5,000 a print run. We told the customers to pitch the old books
when the new ones came, and printed the date clearly on the cover.
Response from the customers was enthusiastic, and we stopped getting order
forms, etc. that were 6 or 9 months out of date.
At the same time, I put together a workbook with dozens of pages that needed
to be filled out and sent in, and our account managers who were using the
workbook insisted that it be punched for 3-ring binders, since they wanted
to be able to get the pages out, photocopy them, and put them back in as
many times as they wanted. But with the exception of workbook pages, I
don't think there is any good reason to follow the binder + update pages