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RE: st: PDF Stata 8 manuals

From   "Dupont, William" <>
To   <>
Subject   RE: st: PDF Stata 8 manuals
Date   Tue, 15 Jul 2003 12:26:02 -0500


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 [] 
Sent: Tuesday, July 15, 2003 11:35 AM
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. 


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