Re: What's with the new docs?

Subject: Re: What's with the new docs?
From: "Dennis Hays/The Burden Lake Group, Ltd." <dlhays -at- IX -dot- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 1996 16:10:16 -0500

At 11:41 PM 01/21/1996 +0000, you wrote:
>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.

Don't forget...there's always Microsoft Press and they produced the
Microsoft Win95 Resource Thingamabob which sells for US$49.00. So, if my
pencil adds correctly, I can purchase the Win95 upgrade for US$89 and then
if I want the documentation, I can buy the Win95 Resource Book for US$49 for
a total of US$138. I imagine it took some tech scribes a day or two to work
on this puppy and, of course, Microsoft puts more $$ in their pockets.

In other words, Microsoft isn't phasing out the doc, you just gotta ante a
few more units from the coffers to get it.


-------------> Dennis Hays, The Burden Lake Group, Ltd.
-------------> Voice: 518/477-6388 Fax: 518/477-5006
-------------> E-Mail: dlhays -at- ix -dot- netcom -dot- com
------------->"God doesn't want you to be certain.
That's why He gave you a brain."


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