Print-only catalogs losing ground

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The number of catalogs available in print-only formats decreased from 1,574 to 1,374 over last year, according to the 2009 National Directory of Catalogs.

Continuing a trend from the past several years, however, the number of print catalogs with online editions grew from 8,675 to 8,894 from last year. Catalogs available in online-only formats totaled 2,011, up from 1,868 last year.

Between 2004 and 2009, the number of baking catalogs jumped 353%, from 16 to 68 while produce catalogs grew 183%, from 29 to 82, and confectionery catalogs grew 138%, from 74 to 176. 

“Niche areas of the catalog business that cater to the increased interest in entertaining at home are thriving, such as baking,” said Trish Hagood, president of Oxbridge Communications Inc., publisher of the National Directory of Catalogs, in a statement.  

Showing the steepest decline is manufacturing catalogs, with a 43% drop from 469 to 268 catalogs over the same time period. Computer catalogs are down 33%, from 313 to 209.

Overall, the largest category continues to be book catalogs, with 1,156 titles in 2009, up from 1,071 in 2004.  The other largest catalog categories are apparel and accessories, numbering 819 catalogs, up from 711, and automotive, with 593 catalogs, up from 389 in 2004.

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