In addition to the marketing and documentation considerations already discussed, there are some significant long-term advantages to doing a book about your company’s products. The first of these is the substantial savings for customer support. Consider the following: the actual amortized cost of a typical customer support call—figuring actual time on the phone, research and callback time, initial and ongoing support rep training, workspace costs, and general administrative overhead—starts at $25-$50 and can go as high as $115 for particularly technical products. Each book sold can be counted on eliminating at least one support call; moreover, these support calls are going to be the type of calls usually covered within the typical grace period for a new product (“How do I install this?” “How do I configure this?” “How do I get this to work with other products?”). Assuming that books cost your company $10 each and they save one call each at a cost of $40 per call, buying and distributing 1000 copies of the book can save the company $30,000 in direct overhead costs.
Harder to measure but no less valuable is the level of customer satisfaction provided by having a good product book. Your customers will feel a measure of comfort in having a book about the product. It leads them to believe that you have anticipated their needs and taken steps to answer their questions.