Catalogers have long debated the interplay of paper catalogs and the web. Some maintain that their paper catalog is expendable since so much business comes via the web site. Those who measure more closely know that paper catalogs are driving a lot of that traffic. But is it enough to warrant the extra expense?
Kevin Hillstrom of MineThatData points out that catalogers are about to have an interesting case study on hand, thanks to the Detroit Newspaper Partnership, publisher of the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press. Suffering from rising costs and a dwindling younger audience, the venerable publisher is making a radical move. They’re planning to cease home delivery on all but the three most profitable days of the week, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. The online edition will be published daily, and a “scaled back” print edition will be available at newsstands on the non-delivery days.
My guess is that this neither-fish-nor-fowl schedule will hasten the Detroit publisher’s demise. But it will be interesting to watch whether web traffic for the papers’ sites increases, decreases or stays the same after the changes take effect.