Author Topic: Rescue mission - 25,000 manuals, Baltimore  (Read 22243 times)

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Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Offline edpalmer42

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Re: Rescue mission - 25,000 manuals, Baltimore
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2015, 06:09:30 am »
I heard about this a while ago and checked out their web site.  I think that's been limiting their business.  You can't browse their list of manuals, only search.  I think that means that the search engines can't index any of their manuals.  Which means that if I google for a manual, I won't find their site.  At least, the two manuals I bought were unknown to google.  And both of them came with a big pink sheet that said:

LAST ONE!
Customer get a copy
Return this to the floor
LAST ONE!

So sad.

Ed
 

Offline TerraHertz

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Re: Rescue mission - 25,000 manuals, Baltimore
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2015, 11:16:05 am »
Dammit. This would be Manuals Plus.
2002 Bethel Rd, Suite 105 Finksberg, MD.
Phone 410-871-1555. Fax 410-871-1255
em: sales@manualsplus.com
web: www.manualsplus.com

Google maps: https://www.google.com/maps/place/2002+Bethel+Rd+%23105,+Finksburg,+MD+21048/@39.5426145,-76.9270742,17z/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x89c838cf2bd77577:0x73f10597464e914a

They sent a flyer to customers (including me) last year announcing their impending going out of business. But then they were still listing on ebay long after the end date, so I'd assumed they'd changed their mind. Now suddenly it's "manuals being dumped in the trash"

It's a tragedy, and should be criminal that they are dumpstering their manuals. Apparently with no attempt to advertise a giveaway. That counts as deliberate, premeditated destruction of cultural and technological treasures. Along the lines of destruction of libraries. (Btw, google that. It's happening a lot lately in a deliberate program by a certain group.)

Hopefully it's not Becky doing the dumping. She is a very nice lady, and appreciates the worth of the manuals. I can't believe she'd do it, even if her boss told her to. That there was no flyer about the actual closure suggests Becky is no longer employed there. I don't know who the business owner is, but I'd certainly like some time 'alone with him.'

I'm in Australia, or I'd be there with a semi and filling up shipping containers. WHHHY can't they donate them to an organization able to store them and give them away?
I really do think that destroying these old and in some cases unique and irreplaceable manuals should be a crime.

People should go there and recover the already dumpstered manuals. And shout abuse at the people doing the dumping. Maybe something involving iron bars and two by fours wouldn't be amiss either. The guy that decided to shut the business down without organizing for the manuals to be saved, deserves a very unpleasant fate. No, the crappy quality scans available online of *some* of these manuals do not count as 'preservation for posterity.' The idea that there are already adequate electronic copies of all these physical manuals is delusional.

A similar thing happened in Australia with a manuals company called High Country Service Data, about 20 years ago. They had a warehouse of service manuals, including many from early Australian electronics companies like BWD. Recently I discovered they had 'gone digital' - had all their manuals scanned (with the very crap scanning technology of the time) then destroyed their entire physical archive. I literally wept. No, I don't want to buy your pathetic digital low quality copies, thanks very much. A*hole.

Notice on google maps that the building is situated in a semi-rural area. Also ManualsPlus is just one unit of that old factory complex. How much can the storage costs be? Combined with the absence of any giveaway attempt makes me suspect the decision to destroy the manuals may be motivated more by an actual desire to destroy them, than by commercial reasons. So far as I know Becky was the only employee, and she always seemed to be worked off her feet with manuals sales.

I can't type words expressing my feelings about this, since this is an all-ages forum. But a lot of them begin with F and C.

Edit to add: Darnit. I wanted to save the article pics from http://ascii.textfiles.com/archives/4683 as a record of this cultural crime.
But now the site is "Bandwidth limit exceeded".
Sigh. It will probably stay that way a while. So I have to go grubbing in caches.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2015, 11:27:41 am by TerraHertz »
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Offline nctnico

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Re: Rescue mission - 25,000 manuals, Baltimore
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2015, 11:22:15 am »
@TerraHertz: Did it occur to you that they are going out of business because nobody wants the manuals? Then who would want to save them?
I'm sure there will be couple of manuals in the collection which are sought after by people trying to maintain old gear but they really don't want to spend $75 for a manual for a piece of equipment they got for $10. The golden days for service manuals are over because service manuals don't exist anymore.
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Online tautech

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Re: Rescue mission - 25,000 manuals, Baltimore
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2015, 11:47:11 am »
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Offline TerraHertz

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Re: Rescue mission - 25,000 manuals, Baltimore
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2015, 11:47:41 am »
@TerraHertz: Did it occur to you that they are going out of business because nobody wants the manuals?
Your argument is invalid, and merely demonstrates that *you* don't want them. How many people buy ebay'd old gear? Did you actually look at ManualsPlus prices?

Quote
I'm sure there will be couple of manuals in the collection which are sought after by people trying to maintain old gear but they really don't want to spend $75 for a manual for a piece of equipment they got for $10.

You are strawman arguing, and should know better. Not 'a couple', but many thousands of manuals. $75 is way too high, and $10 is 1 to 3 orders of magnitude too low for typical worthwhile bits of old gear. Also, speak to any historian about whether current commercial value is a true measure of historic value.

Quote
The golden days for service manuals are over because service manuals don't exist anymore.

Ha ha, fine example of circular logic there. But the last phrase is precisely correct. Service manuals don't exist anymore. Are you saying that is a good thing?
One of the ways in which these manuals are precious, is as a physical demonstration of what good technical documentation should be. To hold up against and shame present day outrageous lack of anything similar.
And such examples are not useful if there's just ONE copy in some library somewhere. They need to be held in many copies across a population to have any effect. Every kid learning electronics should personally experience manuals like these, to make them question why present day manufacturers don't produce such things. To show them the benefits of having tech companies run by honest engineers working for the good of society, rather than by a bunch of soulless marketing droids and lawyers.
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Offline Deathwish

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Re: Rescue mission - 25,000 manuals, Baltimore
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2015, 12:07:23 pm »
I refuse to pay for manuals, why should I scan mine and give them free as I have always done for some ingrate to then sell it on ebay.
Electrons are typically male, always looking for any hole to get into.
trying to strangle someone who talks out of their rectal cavity will fail, they can still breath.
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Online tautech

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Re: Rescue mission - 25,000 manuals, Baltimore
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2015, 12:11:24 pm »
I refuse to pay for manuals, why should I scan mine and give them free as I have always done for some ingrate to then sell it on ebay.
That's what the FREE manual respository websites are for, upload your obscure manual to make it available to the masses for free.
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Offline Deathwish

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Re: Rescue mission - 25,000 manuals, Baltimore
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2015, 12:18:10 pm »
yes, I know but how many of those that now need to be rescued will suddenly become only available by ebay purchase !
Electrons are typically male, always looking for any hole to get into.
trying to strangle someone who talks out of their rectal cavity will fail, they can still breath.
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Offline Richard Crowley

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Re: Rescue mission - 25,000 manuals, Baltimore
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2015, 12:21:52 pm »
Isn't there any chance of help from archive.org or Google or even the Library of Congress?
Google have developed high-speed scanning technology and host thousands of books online.
 

Offline TerraHertz

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Re: Rescue mission - 25,000 manuals, Baltimore
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2015, 12:23:33 pm »
I refuse to pay for manuals, why should I scan mine and give them free as I have always done for some ingrate to then sell it on ebay.
That's what the FREE manual respository websites are for, upload your obscure manual to make it available to the masses for free.

Pretty sure he was just trolling.

FWIW, here's the flyer from ManualsPlus in Dec 2014. I bought a few manuals as a result, but was/am too poor to go on a real splurge. Even given cheap shipping via shipito, and that ManualsPlus prices were always reasonable and Becky was being extra generous during the sale.
Also I'm pretty sure I mentioned their impending closure here, but didn't save a link to the thread.

Where are all the rich philanthropists, who could easily afford to organize a warehouse and one or two staff for this? Considering some of the stupid things people donate millions to, inability to get this done seems really sad.

Btw, did anyone save the pics from the original article?
« Last Edit: August 16, 2015, 12:26:13 pm by TerraHertz »
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Offline Deathwish

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Re: Rescue mission - 25,000 manuals, Baltimore
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2015, 12:27:56 pm »
I was not trolling anyone thank you. I have always scanned what manuals I have and given them freely, I have even seen one or two then being sold against my wishes on ebay, it rankles and annoys me that people who will offer help to save a collection will then suddenly decide hey why shouldn't you pay for what I got free in the understanding i got them for nothing to save them for others to have freely.
Electrons are typically male, always looking for any hole to get into.
trying to strangle someone who talks out of their rectal cavity will fail, they can still breath.
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Online tautech

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Re: Rescue mission - 25,000 manuals, Baltimore
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2015, 12:44:05 pm »
I have always scanned what manuals I have and given them freely, I have even seen one or two then being sold against my wishes on ebay.............
Well you bought that upon yourself.

Years ago I hunted high and low for a free Telequipment D83 manual and had to buy a scanned copy from the UK, it was the only source available at that time.
Eventually I found an online copy, promptly downloaded it then uploaded to Ebaman, free for all.
However it seems Ebaman is no longer online, links and some hunting points to a total loss of that archive by fire. A real shame.

Preserving our technical legacy was Ebaman's motto and while it's honourable to do the same with this Baltimore resource how can we ensure it's safe for decades to come?  :-//
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Offline TerraHertz

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Re: Rescue mission - 25,000 manuals, Baltimore
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2015, 12:55:03 pm »
I was not trolling anyone thank you. I have always scanned what manuals I have and given them freely, I have even seen one or two then being sold against my wishes on ebay, it rankles and annoys me that people who will offer help to save a collection will then suddenly decide hey why shouldn't you pay for what I got free in the understanding i got them for nothing to save them for others to have freely.

Sorry then. Sometimes with your sense of humor it's hard to tell. (But I do enjoy your shenanigans.)


The original article at http://ascii.textfiles.com/archives/4683  is now 'bandwidth exceeded'.

But it was saved today and available at archive.org:
https://web.archive.org/web/20150815114528/http://ascii.textfiles.com/archives/4683  (with pics)

There's also "full photos from today’s shoot" here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/textfiles/sets/72157657277241785

Incidentally, that info about 'lease expired, can't justify cost of relocating' is a teeny bit suspect. That's not what I recall Becky saying in email to me early this year. I'll see if I can find that.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2015, 01:34:55 pm by TerraHertz »
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Offline eas

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Re: Rescue mission - 25,000 manuals, Baltimore
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2015, 01:01:47 pm »
Sounds like the Jason Scott already has some connection with Archive.org. The short term issue is sorting, hauling everything off and storing it until they can come up with a plan for archiving it.

Jason Scott's site has exceeded its bandwidth quota :~ but apparently there is a paypal link to help with storage.

As for burning libraries, I think someone else started doing that about, oh 2000 years ago?

Update:  Thanks for linking to the archive.org copy. I'm glad he's taking this on. I really hope they are checking printings/dates/revisions when eliminating "duplicates."
« Last Edit: August 16, 2015, 01:04:42 pm by eas »
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Offline TerraHertz

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Re: Rescue mission - 25,000 manuals, Baltimore
« Reply #15 on: August 16, 2015, 01:11:39 pm »
However it seems Ebaman is no longer online, links and some hunting points to a total loss of that archive by fire. A real shame.
Preserving our technical legacy was Ebaman's motto and while it's honourable to do the same with this Baltimore resource how can we ensure it's safe for decades to come?  :-//

What? But Ebaman is working for me, still has my account details, and saved docs going back to (quick check) at least 2007. See screenshot taken just now.
Can you please check again? If it's still inaccessible to you, that's interesting. I'll explain why, if you still can't see it.
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Offline TerraHertz

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Re: Rescue mission - 25,000 manuals, Baltimore
« Reply #16 on: August 16, 2015, 01:29:03 pm »
Sounds like the Jason Scott already has some connection with Archive.org. The short term issue is sorting, hauling everything off and storing it until they can come up with a plan for archiving it.

What sorting? It's already neatly sorted and indexed. The hard part would be preserving that during a move.
Anyone in the US able to think of a way someone could put a legal hold on the destruction?

Quote
As for burning libraries, I think someone else started doing that about, oh 2000 years ago?

Oh yes, there's a long tradition of barbarism regarding libraries, much further back even than 2000 years. It's just lately there seems to be a new style. No flames and swords, same end result. I can't mention by whom and why here. But you can probably find out what I mean via google. Incidentally it's a practice I've seen with my own eyes, being done by the specific group (who we can't mention.)
The whole "who needs physical books, digital copies are all we need" bullshit meme seems to go hand in hand with the stealth barbarism. But there's a very sound reason why paper copies are superior in a critical way, that overrides all other considerations - You can't expunge/corrupt/rewrite them.

Either by accident ( see http://everist.org/NobLog/20131122_an_actual_knob.htm#jbig2  re JBIG2 faulty compression ), or deliberately - say hypothetically some group were intent on obliterating the technological heritage of Western Civilization.

Quote
I really hope they are checking printings/dates/revisions when eliminating "duplicates."
I would bet money that isn't happening. (Ha ha, if I had any. But then, I'm certain I'd win the bet, so...)
« Last Edit: August 16, 2015, 01:53:13 pm by TerraHertz »
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Online tautech

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Re: Rescue mission - 25,000 manuals, Baltimore
« Reply #17 on: August 16, 2015, 01:34:10 pm »
However it seems Ebaman is no longer online, links and some hunting points to a total loss of that archive by fire. A real shame.
Preserving our technical legacy was Ebaman's motto and while it's honourable to do the same with this Baltimore resource how can we ensure it's safe for decades to come?  :-//

What? But Ebaman is working for me, still has my account details, and saved docs going back to (quick check) at least 2007. See screenshot taken just now.
Can you please check again? If it's still inaccessible to you, that's interesting. I'll explain why, if you still can't see it.
:phew:
Thanks.  :-+
Yep Google search found them and I've also updated Ebaman's link I posted in the Repair board.

http://www.ebaman.com/index.php/remository

http://www.eevblog.com/forum/repair/repair-documents-and-links-sticky-me-please-mods/msg478324/#msg478324



« Last Edit: August 16, 2015, 06:30:02 pm by tautech »
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Offline eas

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Re: Rescue mission - 25,000 manuals, Baltimore
« Reply #18 on: August 16, 2015, 05:47:35 pm »
Sounds like the Jason Scott already has some connection with Archive.org. The short term issue is sorting, hauling everything off and storing it until they can come up with a plan for archiving it.

What sorting? Primarily de-duplication, as I understand it, so they don't have to move and store as much.

Quote
Anyone in the US able to think of a way someone could put a legal hold on the destruction?
I can imagine various strategies, and I find all of them incredibly odious. Tearing down a building, that requires permits, those permits can be challenged or held up in various ways (whether or not they should, thats another question). Taking a bunch of manuals to the dump or recycling? The most govts in the US do about that is regulate the waste haulers and perhaps mandate pricing that favors recycling. There is no customary intervention in day-to-day waste disposal activities. Maybe there is some judge who wouldn't laugh you out of court if you tried to bring an injunction, but your attorney would probably have to have some corrupt relationship with them. A creditor might have some standing, if the people with the manuals were behind on payments.

But really, why? A reasonable course of action seems to be playing out. Someone who cares and who is equipped and prepared to do something about it has established some rapport with the current owners of the manuals and can basically take as much as they can haul off. Any effort or expense for a legal intervention would be better directed at helping them out, and/or perhaps paying the current owners some consideration for stretching their timeline to allow more time to haul the trove away.
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Offline nctnico

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Re: Rescue mission - 25,000 manuals, Baltimore
« Reply #19 on: August 16, 2015, 05:51:30 pm »
@TerraHertz: Did it occur to you that they are going out of business because nobody wants the manuals?
Your argument is invalid, and merely demonstrates that *you* don't want them. How many people buy ebay'd old gear? Did you actually look at ManualsPlus prices?
Yes. I think I bought a couple of manuals from them in the past. You can argue all you want but running a business requires paying customers. Paying customers requires offering a service which customers would pay money for. Going out of business means there are not enough paying customers which in turn means the service provided is no longer wanted.

There are just too many repositories with free manuals & websites with repair tips nowadays; you just can't make a living from only the rare manuals. Service manuals started dissapearing from the early 90's so most equipment for which a service manual could exist is at least 20 years old. Such equipment is beyond economical repair so the people who do fix such equipment are hobbyists without much money to spend.

IIRC the manuals I bought from Manualsplus where in the $50 to $75 range excluding shipping costs (before the clearance). Shipping a binder with few kg of dead tree across the ocean isn't cheap. I also agree with the other person about not being able to browse through their collection. That made Manualsplus invisible to Google. If they addressed that earlier they could probably have survived an extra couple of years.
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Offline wagon

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Re: Rescue mission - 25,000 manuals, Baltimore
« Reply #20 on: August 16, 2015, 10:15:07 pm »
I've been a customer of HCSD in Cooma (AU) for a long time.  I remember hiring printed manuals.... but I haven't hired a printed manual now for years!  I ring up, order my manual and a minute or so later I have a download link.  I print the pages I need, and I keep the .pdf copy.  No postage, no time waiting, etc.  He can't be making huge dollars out of the enterprise now, since he doesn't charge GST.   Should a company keep massive premises and such just because someone might need an old manual in 20years time?  Surely it's better to have the information available still, even if it's not an original copy. 

Having said that, throwing away old stuff is very sad, and it should be archived in a climate-controlled facility.  But how's it paid for?  Would have to be paid for by the taxpayer!  Future generations would thank us.
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Offline TheElectricChicken

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Re: Rescue mission - 25,000 manuals, Baltimore
« Reply #21 on: August 16, 2015, 10:41:06 pm »
I recall a bookseller of secondhand books, the guy who was doing it said he just set it up in the middle of nowhere, in a place where land and labor was cheap, then cataloged and advertised and indexed everything online. He really didn't bother to try with low prices to attract anyone, just figured to simply wait until eventually such and such a book was wanted by someone. It was just a snails pace strategy, keeping cost low.

All the places I've seen that collect information for free don't allow it to be copied in bulk, they sit on it to make money out of it. archive.org, wikipedia, JSTOR, you name it, you can't download it. Saving manuals to be free is just an idea, and I can't see it becoming real. It's a dream city somewhere over the rainbow where you can visit a library where all the old library books go to make room for the new ones, and you can read forever. It's a dream.
 

Offline timb

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Re: Rescue mission - 25,000 manuals, Baltimore
« Reply #22 on: August 16, 2015, 10:42:15 pm »
I'm only a couple of hours from Maryland. I've got access to a 42' flatbed and copious amounts of climate controlled storage. I'd be glad to take all the manuals off their hands (and scan them as a long term project). 


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Offline amyk

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Re: Rescue mission - 25,000 manuals, Baltimore
« Reply #23 on: August 16, 2015, 11:20:59 pm »
I'm only a couple of hours from Maryland. I've got access to a 42' flatbed and copious amounts of climate controlled storage. I'd be glad to take all the manuals off their hands (and scan them as a long term project).
I think you should talk to Jason Scott directly via email - "jason at textfiles dot com" is what he mentions in the link. Those sound like the exact type of resources he's in need of. (I doubt you'll get to keep anything but the duplicates though.)
Quote
All the places I've seen that collect information for free don't allow it to be copied in bulk, they sit on it to make money out of it. archive.org, wikipedia, JSTOR, you name it, you can't download it.
archive.org? Jason Scott works there and they certainly do allow downloading... here's a random download link I used a few weeks ago
 

Offline TerraHertz

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Re: Rescue mission - 25,000 manuals, Baltimore
« Reply #24 on: August 17, 2015, 12:18:50 am »
Yes. I think I bought a couple of manuals from them in the past. You can argue all you want but running a business requires paying customers. Paying customers requires offering a service which customers would pay money for. Going out of business means there are not enough paying customers which in turn means the service provided is no longer wanted.

You keep assuming they are 'going out of business due to lack of sales'. That's not the case at all. The article states it's due to loss of the lease, and not being able to justify the cost of relocating. I know from conversations with Becky (the sole staff) that she was always working non-stop.
And I'm not sure about that lease stuff. So far I can't find the emails, but I'm pretty sure she said it was just the owner deciding to shut down. A decision made in Dec 2014 or earlier. Then the failure to advertise over the last 8 months to see if they could get any takers for the entire collection, so now they would dumptser them, that's barely believable.

Quote
I also agree with the other person about not being able to browse through their collection. That made Manualsplus invisible to Google. If they addressed that earlier they could probably have survived an extra couple of years.
Yes, I agree the website was bad. More incompetence from the owner. But again, it wasn't 'lack of business' according to them. It was loss of the lease.


I'm only a couple of hours from Maryland. I've got access to a 42' flatbed and copious amounts of climate controlled storage. I'd be glad to take all the manuals off their hands (and scan them as a long term project). 

Well, here are their contact details again.
Manuals Plus.
2002 Bethel Rd, Suite 105 Finksberg, MD.
Phone 410-871-1555. Fax 410-871-1255
em: sales@manualsplus.com
web: www.manualsplus.com

Google maps: https://www.google.com/maps/place/2002+Bethel+Rd+%23105,+Finksburg,+MD+21048/@39.5426145,-76.9270742,17z/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x89c838cf2bd77577:0x73f10597464e914a

Please phone them. Now. Also contact Jason Scott and work out some cooperation with him. Main thing would be to stop them dumping manuals off the shelves till you have time to work out how to move them while maintaining sort order. Also they will have an index and ordering system on computer - you'll need that too.

See if you can find out who the building owner is, and talk to them. Are they _really_ terminating the lease? Maybe that story is true, maybe it isn't. Would be good to know for sure.

As opposed to, say Tektronix or Agilent/Siglint or whatever they call themselves now, passing someone a few thousand bucks to eliminate a library of manuals, thinking they might sell a few more new instruments if manuals for older gear are unavailable.  Just a thought.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2015, 12:37:47 am by TerraHertz »
Collecting old scopes, logic analyzers, and unfinished projects. http://everist.org
 


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