Re: PDF v paper

Subject: Re: PDF v paper
From: Mark Craig <mcraig -at- WINCAPSOFTWARE -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 16 Dec 1998 14:22:42 +0100

David asked:
Why is there a need for paper doc. to be shipped with a software product?
Depends on which software product you have in mind. For example, you can
download Perl for free, complete with online documentation. However, so
many people want paper documentation that Tim O'Reilly gets rich selling
Perl books.

Another example: people have been using Winzip for years and Amazon only
has two books on the subject: Winzip for Beginners (5 stars! -
6844383-6266819) and "Zipping for Beginners" (1 star - "out of date" and
"examples didn't work").

Perhaps we could make a list of questions that would help us respond with
substantive arguments, either for or against, when Marketing says, "Books
are heavy... printing takes time... you can't 'leverage' your 'ROI' with a
book... they don't look hi-tech... besides they don't fit in the boxes we
just bought... users never read the doc, anyway... let's just quit
supplying paper copies of our doc." Here are some questions we might start

1. Do my users need a long, linear explanation/tutorial to get started?

2. Would most of my users print out the .pdf and use the paper copy instead
of the online version?

3. Does the whole thing cost as much as a nice new car or a small house
already? Would good looking paper documentation keep customers from feeling
like, "I paid THAT much and all I got was a lousy CD-ROM !?!"

4. Do any customers legally require paper documentation?

5. Is our online documentation easier to use than our paper documentation?


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