Sigma-Aldrich Drops 3,000-Page Book

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Not many catalogs mail once every two years, or have a longer title than the one mailed last month by Sigma-Aldrich, St. Louis, a marketer and manufacturer of life science and high-technology products.


But those are not the only unusual aspects of the 2004-05 Sigma Catalog of Biochemicals and Reagents for Life Science Research. The book is about 3,000 pages and contains roughly 35,000 products, of which 4,000 are new. The previous book was nearly identical in length and product total.


About 800,000 copies mailed last month -- 330,000 in the United States, 280,000 to Europe and 190,000 elsewhere -- targeting research scientists, primarily those working in the life sciences. Circulation was unchanged from the 2002-03 book. Items are research tools and biochemicals along with basic lab equipment.


Thirty-four versions of the book were produced to account for different currencies and languages.


"This is the third one we've done every other year, and before that we printed a new catalog annually," said Daniel Boesch, marketing manager at Sigma-Aldrich. "Our biggest customer segment is universities where a great deal of research takes place."


Production time for the most recent catalog was about four months.


"We have product managers and technical writers as well as marketing communications and electronic publishing groups working on it during that time," he said. "It takes about 50 people to be involved in the process.


"We've made some improvements, including an application-based index. All the product names had been only listed alphabetically, but now we have an index that groups the products by application."


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