We're often asked if we'll ever stop mailing catalogs like this one and rely only on a web presence to conduct our business. The short answer is a resounding no, despite the difficulty and increasing costs of producing and distributing an annual publication of this size.
We still feel that print is the single best medium for rapidly comparing styles and finishes across a broad range of products. At a glance you can immediately see the scope of a suite, compare alternative finishes on a knob or handle, or evaluate relative sizes of grouped items, which can be tough to do using a website populated with 9000 items (OK, 8850 if you just count hardware, but growing as I type). Searching and navigating may work well when you know what you want, but when you don't, flipping pages can be ideal. If you don’t believe that, just try a search for a brass knob on any major supplier’s site, and see how many results you get and how difficult they are to compare. Then try looking in here.
At the same time, we are mindful of how we use resources and continue to work diligently to ensure that only those who want or need catalogs receive them. Starting this fall, we will have online versions of all current catalogs in a format that makes our products easy to browse, just as one would with a print catalog. This new capability will also allow us to provide additional content on a more timely basis.
Also keep in mind that, unlike many web storefronts, we actually stock the products shown in our catalogs and on our website; there are no drop-ship items and no products that have to be special-ordered. If a product is unsatisfactory, we will take back what we have sold and refund everything you have spent; there are no re-stock fees.
The choice between print and online versions is yours.
Robin C. Lee