Why do catalogs fail? The answer is deceptively simple, while the remedy is not. Most catalogs fail because they walk away from the basics; they ignore the elementary economic analyses necessary to properly measure and control the business.
For years catalogers have used dollars per book as their main statistic for measuring catalog performance. As a tool for measuring gross or net demand, it has held up well, allowing catalogers to compare list segments and the overall results of different catalogs. But as every businessman knows, generating demand is only part of the puzzle.