Traditional catalogue distributor Digi-Key Corp. has recast itself as a fully integrated online distributor by, among other moves, eliminating print versions of its catalogue. Digi-Key is not an impulsive company and has no doubt researched every angle of this move before reaching its decision. (See Digi-Key Drops Print Catalogue.)
The company has been building up its online/mobile offerings for awhile, developing apps for smartphones, transitioning former print titles such as Lighting Solutions TechZone magazine into e-books, and providing soup-to-nuts services like Purchasing Pro, a Web-based resource for buyer-related news and analysis. This full-integration strategy is designed to give buyers and engineers more control over their supply chain management online and the flexibility of being mobile. Buyers and engineers definitely want these capabilities.
On the other hand, there is a segment of the industry that still likes to have a paper catalogue to flip through. To date, catalogue distributors have offset the environmental impact of their printed materials by using eco-friendly paper and inks. (See Catalogues’ Eco-Dilemma.) Digi-Key is the first distributor to eliminate print altogether. Mouser is the only other catalogue distributor, so far, that has publicly stated it intends to keep both its print and online versions available.
As a consumer, I like to have both options open. In most cases, I peruse a catalogue to see what's available, but I do my actual buying online. But I'm not a design engineer, and the electronics supply chain is a whole lot more complicated than a retail purchase. So, EBN readers, what do you say? Are we ready to go truly paperless?