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st: RE: RE: Another manual idea

Subject   st: RE: RE: Another manual idea
Date   Tue, 18 Nov 2003 10:30:56 -0500

Dupont, William wrote
> I don't see that the slope need be all that slippery.
> It makes good business sense for Stata only to sell v8
> software, since selling v7 software at a discount really
> would cut into sales of v8.  V7 and v8 are different enough
> that any user who can afford v8 documentation will buy it.
> Hence, I doubt that inexpensive v7 documentation would cut
> greatly into sales of v8 documentation.  For group/student
> licenses where there is only one v8 documentation set for the
> class, allowing students to obtain their own v7 documentation
> would be a great benefit, and probably would enhance the sales
> of group licenses to students.  These students are likely to
> become the new individual licensees of the future, which is why
> Stata provides inexpensive student rates in the first place.

There are plenty of assumptions in the above, as well as in Bill's earlier

First, I would argue that demand is much more elastic for the manuals than
the software.  The software:  you need it.  The manuals: clearly
discretionary since you *can* manage with just the help files.  Making cheap
v7 manuals available would surely make a serious dent in StataCorp's cash

I am not sure either about the linkage between cheap manuals and subsequent
group license sales?  Clearly, student must have access to the software
before even wanting the purchase manuals...  Besides, students probably have
little say in what group license their department purchases.

The pricing formula for manuals and related issues (.pdf et al.) have been
discussed at length on the list but one thing is clear, the sale of manuals
accounts for a significant portion of StataCorp's revenue.  It is no doubt
their secondary line of business. Changing the pricing strategy, or
introducing .pdf's (I hope I won't be starting a new thread on this) would
correspond to a significant change in business model.

Patrick Joly
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