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RE: st: PDF Stata 8 manuals


From   "Dupont, William" <william.dupont@vanderbilt.edu>
To   <statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu>
Subject   RE: st: PDF Stata 8 manuals
Date   Tue, 15 Jul 2003 12:59:42 -0500

I have no idea how much profit Stata makes from their manuals, but I
would assume that Stata is primarily a statistical software company and
only secondarily a publishing company.  I believe that improving the
quality and value of their software product is their most likely route
to further prosperity.  Stata is of limited value without the
documentation and the manuals are of no value whatsoever without Stata.
If improving the online documentation will decrease profits from paper
manuals, then I for one, would recommend improving the online
documentation and increasing the cost of Stata licenses to make up for
the lost revenue from book sales.

Bill Dupont

-----Original Message-----
From: Fred Wolfe [mailto:fwolfe@arthritis-research.org] 
Sent: Tuesday, July 15, 2003 12:44 PM
To: statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
Subject: RE: st: PDF Stata 8 manuals 


I think Nick was right on the mark. It is difficult (but not impossible)
to 
pirate SAS software, as there are licenses that are always expiring and 
need special keys to continue operation. In addition, SAS is expensive 
enough that it is only practical through universities or large groups
who 
have responsibility for the licenses. I would love to see pdf files of
the 
manuals, but my guess is that Stata would be ripped off left and right
if 
they did this.

Fred

At 12:26 PM 7/15/2003 -0500, you wrote:
>Nick
>
>Some colleagues and many students would not buy manuals if they could 
>get the documentation they needed online.  It is not obvious to me, 
>however, that providing excellent online documentation would 
>necessarily result in reduced revenue to Stata Corp.  A key factor in 
>increasing their revenue stream is surly increasing the number of 
>people who buy their software.  Students who take Stata based courses 
>are potential long term customers.  Hence, making Stata a more 
>attractive teaching tool may increase student numbers and in the long 
>term lead to increased revenues to Stata.  It is presumably for this 
>reason that Stata offers inexpensive GradPlan options to students.
>
>In the final analysis the question of whether to improve the quality of

>the online documentation is a business decision for Stata Corp.  At 
>Vanderbilt, I believe that improved documentation might lead to reduced

>documentation sales and would probably lead to larger class sizes and 
>more long term Stata customers.  Whether Stata would make more or less 
>revenue from this change is hard to say.
>
>Bill Dupont
>
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Nick Cox [mailto:n.j.cox@durham.ac.uk]
>Sent: Tuesday, July 15, 2003 11:35 AM
>To: statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
>Subject: RE: st: PDF Stata 8 manuals
>
>
>William Dupont
>
> > I think I would still prefer a hyperlinked pdf version of the paper 
> > documentation, but a hyperlinked SMCL version would be a big 
> > advance. Would creating hyperlinked pdf documentation be much more 
> > difficult or expensive than doing this in SMCL?
>
>The difficulty or the expense of doing this are not
>the issue at all, or so I suspect. It's what would be
>done with the resulting product.
>
>Let me put one key facet a little more bluntly than
>Stata Corp might.
>
>If your colleagues and students could print out .pdf willy-nilly, how 
>much would it affect their willingness to buy the manuals?
>
>How many people, world-wide, would buy cheap pirated
>versions of (subsets of) the documentation if they existed?
>
>Individually, of course, no one wants to pay any more than
>one can avoid, modulo ethical scruples.
>Collectively, however, the viability of
>Stata Corp must depend on its financial success, itself dependent on at

>least some people paying substantially for what they get.
>
>Nick
>n.j.cox@durham.ac.uk
>
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Fred Wolfe
National Data Bank for Rheumatic Diseases
Wichita, Kansas
Tel (316) 263-2125     Fax (316) 263-0761
fwolfe@arthritis-research.org


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