TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re Value of paper docs? From:Ted Heatherington <THeather -at- ALPHA -dot- CA> Date:Mon, 21 Oct 1996 08:58:09 -0700
An interesting thought, with one provisio:
How many of these "after-market" manuals are purchased by the
registered owner of software? Most manuals that I see being bought at
the book store are by people who "borrow" a copy of the software from
the office and need a manual for home.
Admittedly, there are some legitimate cases: copies bought by people
who find the manufacturer's manuals too difficult to use, or lacking
in detail the user wants (I've bought several); the manufacturer ships
only electronic documentation (i.e., Lotus Wordpro and Corel Office
7.0) and users don't want 350 help files per app clogging drives;
multi-user apps in a networked office have (at best) one set of
manuals for distributed users.
My bet is that there should be a correlation betweeen the size of the
package and the purchase of hardcopy manuals.
>Date: Thu, 3 Oct 1996 06:06:30 PDT
>>Very specifically, I am interested in an objective research study on
>>consumer's perception of the value of paper documentation. Ideally,
>>this value would be expressed in economic terms.
>One could do a first approximation without talking to any users at
>all. Estimate the sales of "Dummies" books. This represents money
>that the software vendors left lying on the table for someone else
>to pick up. The "Dummies" series must have raked in $100 million
> -- Robert
>Robert Plamondon, President/Managing Editor,
>High-Tech Technical Writing, Inc.
>36475 Norton Creek Road * Blodgett * Oregon * 97326
>robert -at- plamondon -dot- com * (541) 453-5841 * Fax: (541) 453-4139