Digital Catalogs: Tomorrow’s New Trend?
Texterity also offers an integrated tracking and reporting program that provides detailed data on who uses the digital catalog and how the user interacts with it, Hawkins adds.
Curriculum Associates, a North Billerica, Mass.-based publisher of supplementary K-8 educational materials, including books, already had an online PDF catalog as well as customized PDF catalogs. But, Texterity’s technology proved faster and simpler, so print-remniscient digital catalogs were added to what Curriculum Associates already offered, says Frank Ferguson, the company’s president.
The price structure Ferguson negotiated with Texterity was a fixed, three-year price for six biannual catalogs, and, he says, there were no additional costs.
Offering a familiar look
Dirxion (pronounced direction) is a 10-year-old company based in Fenton, Mo., that started in the online directory business for some 65 customers, including BellSouth and SBC.
“We moved into the digital catalog business about 18 months ago,” says Mark Thomas, sales and marketing vice president for Dirxion Software Inc. “We take the print catalogs book publishers produce and provide an exact look-and-feel duplicate online using the same files they send to a printer. … and make them interactive and searchable, and we then link them to an existing e-commerce site,” Thomas explains.
According to Dirxion, its main strength is its search capability, enabled with proprietary tools, and viewer-friendliness. “With regard to viewability, we have the ability to make a digital catalog as large or as small as the user’s monitor will allow … Some catalogs are limited in size, so no matter what size you make your screen, you can only view the catalog at that limited size.”
Thomas says most digital vendors charge from $8 to $30 per page, but this cost is still cheaper, he contends, than the printing and mailing costs associated with print catalogs.
The cost per page is based on the links required by the publisher, he says. This can range from having no links at all to linking individual product numbers and images. “A basic catalog has a few images per page and simple product identification links,” he explains.