#274 Throw the book at ‘em

Haynes, the shop manual people, are taking it online. That’s good news if you (or someone you love) is fed up with those dirty old books cluttering the workbench.

There are at least five shop manuals gathering grime somewhere in the vicinity of your work bench. They’ve been published either by Clymer or Haynes or both. You may well have long parted with the particular models they pertain to, but that’s not the point. You have kept them in your “library” because … well … because, you just never know. And they will remain in your tender care from now until the time you’re a drooling old mess. That’s when your ungrateful children and their even less worthy brats will stage what is euphemistically called a “Garage Sale” but is really nothing more than a free-for-all clearout of grandad’s “old crap.”
Okay, that was a little negative. Could be I’m in a foul mood after watching the Clint Eastwood film Gran Torino, in which his character’s family moves in for the kill as he wobbles with age.
My family would never do something like that, and neither would yours.
But with the off-chance you know someone whose kin could be that ruthless, tell them about the recent announcement from Haynes. The supplier of repair and maintenance information for DIY mechanics is demonstrating an electronic version of its manuals to retailers in the United States, a first for the traditional print publishing company. The intention is that customers will be able to click through from websites operated by Haynes’ auto parts stores and order a subscription to the electronic product.
This is excellent news! The paperless versions will not only create space in your workshop, they will also save future generations needless anxiety rifling through your possessions to see what needs parting out.
The company believes the online versions of its manuals can become as successful as the traditional printed books, which have sold more than 150 million copies around the world.
“With this new product we have been able to incorporate a great deal of material that it is not possible to provide in a printed product,” said Eric Oakley, Haynes Group CEO.
By that he means the electronic product will provide all the standard information seen in the print version and also include audio and video clips demonstrating DIY procedures.
“The Brake Pad video and the Rust Repair video, for example, really do an excellent job in getting across to our end-user customers how straightforward these tasks really are,” says Oakley. “The nature of the web has also encouraged us to incorporate colour pictures and colour wiring diagrams as well as hyperlinks, definitions and a keyword search function. This product enables us to provide a lot more help to our customers.”
Once the initial prototype demonstrations are complete, Haynes intends to convert the top 50 selling manuals to the electronic format and make them available for sale by subscription in the US by fall.
For now, the prototypes revolve around automotive applications, but things tend to progress rapidly in this digital era of the Millennium generation. Online motorcycle manuals won’t be far behind.