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Missing Manuals? Author Finds Opportunity

Boot Camp feature for Tuesday, April 18, 2000

What in the world ever happened to those manuals? Okay, I confess, most of the time I never bothered to read them. Neither did you, probably. But have you noticed, most of the time when you buy a new software package, there are no manuals to be found. At least in print. Software companies and even many computer makers are putting manuals on CD ROM or online. A lot of good that will do if you can't get the computer or operating system started. How common is this?

"It's incredibly prevalent. As a matter of fact you'd be hard pressed to find a program that comes with a manual. Just this year, Quicken, used to come with great manuals, they stopped providing manuals, Microsoft Office... you get a little getting started guide, even that is due to disappear this year and next year, Windows comes with no printed instructions, the Mac OS comes with no printed instructions.."

Author David Pogue, who is doing something about it. He's launched a series of books under the title The Missing Manual. Mac OS 9 and Windows 2000 are among the first titles. So why are the manuals missing? Give you one guess...

"Money. It costs them, depending on how many they print, between a dollar fifty and four dollars a copy."

Pogue says another reason is the time it takes to print manuals after the software is finished. You can find more info at Missingmanual.com. You can find us at ThirdAge.com. Bootcamp, I'm Fred Fishkin, for CBS News.