The announcement that Haynes publishing is going to close its book division is a bit of shock isn’t it?
The company says it is going to focus "on the areas with the largest growth potential – DIY manuals; information systems for use by professional mechanics; and the expansion of its digital offering, including the development of additional digital platforms."
In short it is going to concentrate on the things that makes the company money, which means the manuals.
In recent years it hasn’t just been Ford Fiesta 2002–2008 Workshop Manual which has been generating the income. As you’ve probably noticed you can also find out what it’s like to own a Supermarine Spitfire, or McLaren M23 thanks to the company's brilliantly original take on the whole manual concept.
It’s just a shame that the Sparkford delivery depot is closing and there are to be redundancies, but the reality is that motoring books don’t make money for anyone.
This is fascinating for me because Haynes is where it all started for me. Before I bored anyone with magazine articles and my own inflated opinions, Haynes published a book of mine. 'Dealing with Car Dealers' even went into a second print run, which I’ve never managed since.
The bottom line is that those books have never made me much money whatever publishers I’ve worked for. Mind you, I publish my own ramblings these days, which may not earn me any more, but at least I get paid on time and own the means of production.
So the trouble is, then, that publishing yourself, whether it is in a real dead tree book, a digital e-book, or just a blog about cars, has never been easier. What you write doesn’t even have to be very good either. Also what with Autocar.co.uk and YouTube and all those distractions on your smartphone or tablet, who really needs a book?
The question I am asking is do you still buy, and most importantly read, books with cars in them?