Printing PDF manuals

As more companies choose to replace printed documentation with PDF documents, customers clamor to find methods for turning the electronic files back into hardcopy. While printed manuals have shrunk due to cost restraints, companies are still providing lengthy PDF-based documentation. With page counts reaching into the hundreds, its simply impractical for users to print their own copies -- the time, ink cost, and unwieldily nature of loose single-sided pages results in a big, unusable mess.

An alternate approach is to take your PDF file to FedEx Kinkos and have it printed and bound in a neater package. In many cases, you can even upload the file via their website so your book will be ready for you when arrive to pick it up. A barrier to doing this however, aside from the expense, is that the manual is copyrighted and Kinko's won't reproduce it without permission. To help resolve this problem some manuals, such as Apple's server documentation, confer limited permission for reproducing the documentation, as noted in the book's legal boilerplate material.

Another approach taken by some companies is to partner with on-demand printing services to provide printed copies of the documentation, at extra expense, to customers. For example, On Demand Manuals offers a bookstore that is well-stocked with product manuals, as well as third-party instructional material.

Posted: July 29, 2004 link to this item, Tweet this item, respond to this item