Binders vs. Books

Subject: Binders vs. Books
From: Ginna Watts <gwatts -at- PIM -dot- BC -dot- CA>
Date: Tue, 4 Mar 1997 14:39:16 -0800

Hi All,

Last year's software manual was the first to be 'perfect bound', as opposed
to in a binder, and got rave reviews. Apparently though (I was't here then),
the decision was quite the holy war.

NOW - with only five weeks left to go, they are now 'revisiting' the binder
idea. The theory is that we will have several new modules of the software
released throughout the next six months, and these could simply inserted
into the binder. The software side is also suggesting that if we have a
binder, we can send out updates to the body of the text. Currently, we
produce oddball module docs in a small saddle-stitch booklet.

My orignal reaction was 'yick - binders', but I have been asked to ignore
emotion and aesthetics. (!?) I am dutifully costing both solutions, but I'm
coming up blank on the work / time end of the estimates.

Specifically:

Is it possible to update sections of an existing manual that is numbered in
one flow, or will it have to be reformatted to chapter numbering? (i.e.
2-34, 6-21). I am having trouble seeing how it can be done without breaking
pagination, indexes etc., but I will bow to your knowledge.

Has anyone had any experience sending out change pages? Do users actually
insert them? Are change bars or some such necessary?

I'm having nightmare about keeping track of all these bloody versions -
Harder to maintain change in a binder, or update booklets?

Finally, getting into emotions, how do people feel about binders vs. bound
books? I'd like to get a tally.

FYI the manual will be about 400 pages, in FrameMaker. (Not including the
'new' modules, which haven't even been written - don't ask.) Most of the
text will also be in Windows Help, which will be updated as necessary. PDF
is not an option - I'm already 'way' over my budget.

TIA, Ginna
Ginna Watts - Technical Writer
Pacific International Mapping Corp.
gwatts -at- pim -dot- bc -dot- ca

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