Re: One publication or two?

Subject: Re: One publication or two?
From: John McGhie <jmcghie -at- WORLD -dot- NET>
Date: Sat, 23 Sep 1995 09:28:30 GMT

Romay Jean Sitze <rositze -at- nmsu -dot- edu> wrote:

>On Thu, 7 Sep 1995, Geoff Bradbury wrote:

>> navigation aids, etc. But what about the 'optimum' number of pages in a
>> publication? Is there any research available that examines this question?

>I am also interested in this question. At first glance, I would simply
>say that the optimum number of pages would be the number that would cover
>the topic adequately--and still leave the completed pub. a manageable
>size. (Can you still lift it with one hand? :)) I don't know of any
>specific research on the subject, so I'll be looking forward to replies.

At Fujitsu, we used the figure of 200 pages as being the optimum split-point.
This was from work done by Mike Lewis of tthe Australian Society of Technical
Communicators, and since refined into our in-house style guide.

We would say that a "book" should contain about 200 pages (plus front and back
matter, which meant the end result was trending nearer 250 sheets of paper)
and would take about six person-months to design, write, and produce from

Books larger that 200 pages tend to intimidate their readers, and hence do not
get read. That means the support costs for the product go up dramatically,
because all those users will ring up to ask how to use it instead of reading
the manual.

Hope this helps.
John McGhie
Windows Help Text Author
Consulting Documentation Engineer

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