Re: Ideas for inexpensive manual production?

Subject: Re: Ideas for inexpensive manual production?
From: Tom Herme <hermet -at- DNINEVADA -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 27 May 1998 17:10:20 -0700


I'm not sure if this is completely appropriate to your situation, but we deal with
a printer who use the Docutech digital printing process. This process has us
shipping them Word-generated PRN files which they can print very efficiently. On a
manual of about 225 total pages, they charge us about $10 each on lots of around
75-100. They coil bind the manuals. The turnaround time is typically 7-8 work days
from when we overnight our files and a print copy to when they return a proof copy
for review. Once we've signed off on the proof copy and places an order, we
usually have manuals delivered within a few days.

I agree that keeping up with software changes in printed documentation is
difficult. We are providing customers with manuals in PDF on the product CD. It
appears that our organizational goal is to issue printed manuals only on major
releases of the software and to provide documentation updates in the interim
through the website, e-mail, fax, and snail mail.

Hope this helps.


Eric Thomas wrote:

> My company has run into a sizeable problem in the production of printed
> manuals for our software. We're a small company, and doing all the
> development and CD-ROM burning in-house. It seems as though our manuals
> were somewhat out of date when we received them. The time between when I
> handed over the files to be printed and bound until we received them back
> to pack into our boxes was around 3 weeks. But bugs were corrected and
> little "features" were added in the meantime. It seemed like no big deal
> to do an addendum, and we did. But... this is going to happen every time.
> We're developing and correcting constantly, and do not ship out large
> volumes of our software all at once. Therefore, we need to find an
> economical way to make sure that our customers have the most recent printed
> documentation that pertains to the currently shipping version of the software.
> Ideally, we need to do small (5-10) manual runs. We've looked into taking
> our manuals to Kinko's, but it appears that they'll charge around $5.00 per
> manual (we have 3 per copy of our software) for spiral bound, plus we'll
> have to get our ad agency to come up with front and back covers that look
> nice, plus we'll have to do all the printing on our own printer (printing
> front to back) plus have to crop the printouts (they're 7x9") and, to make
> a long story even longer... I don't know what to do.
> Has anyone with a small company (or a large company) been in a similar
> situation. As I said, we don't send out tons of copies of a single
> release, so we need to be flexible, yet we also need to be cost conscious.
> Any help would be greatly appreciated.
> Thanks.
> Eric A. Thomas
> eathomas -at- dbits -dot- com

Tom Herme
Senior Technical Writer

DNI Nevada Incorporated
2000 Arrowhead Drive
Carson City, NV 89706-0403

Tel: 702.883.3400, Ext 231
Fax: 702.883.9541

mailto://hermet -at- DNINevada -dot- com

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