Random Ramblings about stuff I see going on in biotech, internet and the stuff I read.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Paper Catalogs?

We are going through a process of getting the next catalog together. While I am not involved in actually doing anything (that would be marketing people tearing hair out) - I am fascinated that we still do this. So do all of our competitors....

I have to admit I don't use paper anything any more (to the extent possible) and really don't understand why we (or anyone else) still do.

Do people in labs still use paper or do you go direct to the web page? A link on Life Science tools of the trade seems to support the paper catalog thing, so I guess it still works. But wow... You got to know the thing is out of date before you get it. Its out of date before we even print it. Why use it?

I don't get it - but wouldn't be advocating that we be the first company not to print. Big risk - little upside - why be first?


Anonymous said...

Upon returning to the field at the beginning of the decade, I too was amazed that labs still used paper catalogs. It seemed so unnecessary when the web can offer the same content in a superior fashion. Notice that I said that the web *can* offer content in a superior fashion.

In the past few years, I’ve resigned myself to using catalogs for most ordering. The biggest reason – by far – is that most companies have absolutely horrible websites. Most are slow, confusing, and impossible to navigate. The search functions seem stuck in 1996. Some require unnecessary registration just to look up a part number. (When one is placing orders via a central ordering division the all you want/need is a part number and description. Don’t place obstacles in my way to getting what I want.) Most websites add no value over the paper catalog – they could and should be giving us bigger and alternate views of the product (VWR and Fischer I’m looking at you) but instead they only offer up the same content found in the catalog. They could offer comments and reviews from customers, with technical support Q&A specific to that product – but most don’t. Companies could offer up links to papers / protocols that use the given products. They do not. Lastly, the catalog should also be google searchable. (Basically, I’ve just defined amazon.com. Why suppliers don’t use them for online transactions I’ll never know. It works for Target, after all.)

Major_Grooves said...

A lot of people just don't like looking at lots of data on a computer.

Would you prefer to read a scientific paper as a pdf on the computer or print it out and read it?

I would rather print it out and read it!

This is a pretty cool site. I'm interested in the whole biotech BD thing. I would liek to subscribe to your blog but you don't have a RSS feed or anything that I can see. Any chance you could add one?

yes said...

Major Grooves,

There is an RSS feed coming off that I pick up with Firefox and with Feedster. I am using whatever the defaults that spit out of Blogger are (i.e. I have that enabled)

...and I read about 50% of my papers on the computer and print out about 50%, but I think that is different. The paper is "frozen" in time whereas the product availability of companies changes over time (i.e. daily).