The Black & Decker Home Improvement Library, a collection of 15 books that give advice under the imprimatur of the Towson-based power tool company, is going high tech with an agreement to make computer versions of two of the books.
Coupled with the company's recent expansion of its 800 information telephone line and the possibility of it moving on to the Internet, the action is part of Black & Decker's bid to become the information source for home improvement enthusiasts.
"Black & Decker's goal is to make information like our book series, or CD-ROM, our 800 number and other resources, another set of tools for consumers to use in expanding their do-it-yourself knowledge and experience," said Ellen S. Foreman, the company's director of marketing.
The two books to be converted are "Everyday Home Repair" and "Landscape Design & Construction." They will be put on compact disks with read-only memory, commonly known as CD-ROMs.
The contract to put the books on CD-ROM is between Cy DeCosse Inc., the publisher of the Black & Decker series, and Parsons Technology, a subsidiary of Intuit Inc., the well-known .. software company that produces the Quicken money management programs.
Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.
The CD-ROMs are expected to hit the shelves of computer and hardware stores this spring with a retail price of about $29. They will include taped live-action demonstrations of techniques, clear diagrams and voice-over step-by-step photographs.
"You can visually see how parts fit together," said Alex Taylor, a spokesman for Parsons. "This is trying to take the guess work out of these things."
Conversion of other Black & Decker books will depend on how well these CD-ROMs sell, Mr. Taylor said.
Since 1988, Cy DeCosse, a division of Cowles Magazines Inc., has published 15 Black & Decker do-it-yourself books in English and eight in Spanish. They are produced under a licensing agreement with Black & Decker, which has approval rights on both the books and on CD-ROM, said Leslie Jay, a spokeswoman for Cowles.
Cy DeCosse also is planning to introduce a "Black & Decker Quick Fixit File" in February that will contain 416 index cards on home projects and repairs.
Black & Decker, the country's pre-eminent power tool company, has stepped up information services to customers as part of its upgrading of its consumer products line this summer.