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st: Re: A Thought

From   Kit Baum <>
Subject   st: Re: A Thought
Date   Mon, 5 May 2008 09:53:09 -0400

This is the mother of all FAQs. It's not going to happen. I would like it to happen too, but I can understand the logic behind the company's decision not to do it. Other software vendors have had significant problems with their manuals in PDF format being posted illegally on servers, and once that happens, who is going to buy one?

IMHO Stata's print manuals are significantly more valuable than those for many competing products because they contain a huge amount of information on the underlying statistical background, links to relevant statistical literature, etc. and not just information on how to run the command. Putting that information together and maintaining it is costly, and I do not begrudge StataCorp the money they charge for the print manuals (which as Richard W. says is more than they charge for the SW). But unlike many vendors, who sell a base software package and then get you in the neck for various "applications", "toolboxes", "add-ons" and the like which make useful software 2-3x as expensive, Stata sells software that does everything and sells the manuals a la carte. I wish every Statalist poster had ready access to the manuals so they could consult them about important details that are not in the online help (and yes, there are some, particularly in the users guide and programming manual). But note that in Stata version 10, one very important category of information -- full details on the items returned by each command in r() or e() -- now appears in the excellent online help as well as in the print manuals.

But I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for a PDF copy of the Stata manuals. And for the vast majority of commands, the version 9 or even version 8 manuals are just fine. We 'recycle' them internally and put the older versions out for the grad students. If they need the newer features, they can borrow the version 10 manuals.


Kit Baum, Boston College Economics and DIW Berlin
An Introduction to Modern Econometrics Using Stata:

On May 5, 2008, at 02:33 , statalist-digest wrote:

i wish i could somehow return the old manuals and upgrade them to new
ones at a discounted price....  i don't have a problem shelling out
big $ once for a complete set but am not willing to do it every two
years or so.

i know the stata corp is making significant money on the manuals and i
am not sure how feasible it is, but would it be possible to have
manuals installed as either html or pdf during the installation and
have them somehow associated with the serial number so that the files
would not open on another machine?  the user could type in stata -man
regress- and an associated page would open in a browser or pdf reader.
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