There are lots of things you can do with copies of a third-party book about your product. You can use the book as a giveaway at trade shows, a value-added product in your company’s product catalog, or as a bonus for registration. Avoid trying to use the book as the primary product documentation. Customers tend to expect that a third-party book will be a secondary source of information, not the sole source, and will probably view this behavior for what it is: cheap. (On the other hand, Dan Gookin’s DOS for Dummies was so blindingly good, Microsoft bundled it as the primary printed documentation for DOS 6.2, for which they deservedly received rave reviews.)
Perhaps the best use of third-party book is as a marketing piece to be added to other product packages. Consider how you open your software packages: you pull out the disks, the manuals, and the envelope containing the loose sheets of information. You sift the envelope for the registration card, the quick reference card, and the clearly important material, after which the ads and come-ons frequently hit the recycle bin right away. By packaging an entire book, you guarantee that the purchaser will save it and probably take a look at book at some point: no one throws away a book right out of the package, no matter how irrelevant it may seem at the time. At worst, it’ll go on the user’s shelf, with the product name on the spine constantly reminding the user of your product.