Hot Fun in the Summertime

Here at Catalog Age headquarters, the past weeks have been less George Gershwin (“Summertime, and the livin’ is easy”) and more Eddie Cochran (“Sometimes I wonder what I’m a-gonna do/There ain’t no cure for the summertime blues”). Because for us, summer isn’t the season for picnics in the park and splashing in the waves. It’s the season of the Catalog Age 100, our exclusive ranking of the nation’s largest offline/online catalogers.

And that means working the phones to persuade companies to divulge proprietary information and hunkering down over SEC filings and working the phones some more and scouring the Web for documents and articles pertaining to hundreds of catalog companies…and did I mention working the phones?

To be honest, there were times — primarily on weekends, when I could hear the neighborhood kids playing and giggling outside my home-office window as I tapped out numbers on my pocket calculator — when I wished we could have taken the easy way out: ranked only publicly traded companies, for instance, or simply calculated data card growth. But that wouldn’t have been useful or fair to you…and I never much liked playing outside anyway.

Some of the fruits of our labors can be found in this issue. But while the chart and accompanying text do provide plenty of tasty information, there’s plenty more that we’ve never been able to fit within the confines of the magazine. So this year we’re debuting The Catalog Age 150, a book that not only ranks the 150 largest catalog marketers but also profiles each of them, so that you can see how these companies have managed to rise to the top — and what they’re planning to do to stay there.

Leaving the martyr act aside, researching and compiling this year’s ranking has been a truly eye-opening, edifying experience. Having covered the industry for nearly nine years now, I thought I knew most of what there is to know about the major players. How wrong I was! But as the summer draws to a close, I’ve learned a lot more. And by spending so much time indoors learning, I’ve saved a lot of money on sunscreen.

If you would like to learn more about The Catalog Age 150, or to order, call 800-262-1954, or visit

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