Re: What's with the new docs?

Subject: Re: What's with the new docs?
From: Jane Bergen <janeb -at- AIRMAIL -dot- NET>
Date: Sun, 21 Jan 1996 23:41:59 +0000

Richard Meosian writes:

>Jane Bergen writes:
> >All you have to do is look
> >in any Barnes and Noble, Bookstop, Borders, or other bookstores and
> >the shelves are packed with documentation. The catch is that these
> >folks aren't employed as tech writers by contract or by permanent
> >employment. They write the books and hope some publisher will pick it
> >up and then you and I, driven by sheer desperation, will go buy it.

(snip to save space)

> One of the main reasons that third party books are usually better than the
> manufacturer's documentation is that the books are the product.
> Manufacturers often regard documentation as an overhead item, since software
> buyers don't pay extra for it. The publishers know that their reputation and
> profits depend on giving buyers books they'll be happy with.

> Microsoft has taken this one step further. Its captive press publishes books
> on all of their software products. That way they can essentially sell
> documentation and treat that business as a profit center. ...RM

Yes, but what does this hold for the future of the rest of us who are
writing computer user documentation? Are we on the way out? I think
third-party books are great, but my point is that they are becoming
the ONLY documentation in some cases.

Jane Bergen
............................................................................
Jane Bergen Technical Writer
janeb -at- answersoft -dot- com or janeb -at- airmail -dot- net
"The difference between the right word and the almost right word
is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug"
(Mark Twain)
............................................................................

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