Factory Shop Manual – MIA


Back  in the 20th century,  BMW Mobile Tradition introduced a CD-Rom version of the shop manual which many of us called “The Blue Books”. It sold for about $45 originally, and was last seen in the parts catalog at over $120. They have been on national back order for many months in 2006. What gives?

A quick call to our sources at Mobile Tradition reveals that they have not produced any more disks because the software is at the end of it’s technical life. They don’t appear to be interested in creating a newer version — and with Microsoft producing a new version of Windows (The Mac was never supported) and Adobe creating about 4 versions of Acrobat since this CD was released, this CD may only run on Windows 95-XP.

Most big companies are run by their accounting department, and we’re not surprised BMW Mobile Tradition is probably under some tremendous pressure to be profitable also. How much revenue can you make on selling CD-Roms to 40 year old car owners?

It stands to reason that when you own a 30+ year old car, nothing is forever.

Our advice is… watch eBay and other sources for the original 2 book set of the hard copy manuals.  They never go out of style!

Comments of visionaut (2038-01-18 20:14:07):

  • Maybe they could be talked into released the source material into public domain, or under a GPL or something, given it’s 30-40 years old – if they don’t think there’s any money to be made from it anymore. I’m (and others are) savvy enough with the underlying content of text/graphics embedded in that CDROM to be able to extract it and repurpose it in more modern technology. (website, XML/Java application, Interactive PDF, search engine, etc.) Maybe they could be approached by an organized forum/site (or group of such) to do/allow that?

Comments of Jim Gerock (2008-03-29 14:31:21):

  • Fortunately, I was able to buy a CD-Rom when I bought my car in late 2006. The outdated Adobe version requires me to use my wife’s old Toshiba laptop (running Windows 95). Mobile Tradition should wake up and update this disk. There are more new ’02 owners out there like me who need this valuable information.