The paperless society has fewer big victories than even the Chicago Cubs. But next year marks a major win, when the Big Green Books become a Web-only resource. The last Thomas Register of American Manufacturers will be printed in February when Thomas becomes "a 108-year-old Internet marketing company," says Linda Rigano, director of new business.
Engineers and others won't miss paging through volumes of books to find 650,000 listings, though they do seem to like the extra info that's available online. "Nearly 80 percent of the time that CAD drawings are downloaded, that product is specified," Rigano says.
Thomas began putting data on the Web in 1992, and marketers figured this day was coming for quite a while. "Over the past two or three years, buyers have really shifted to online searches and print subscriptions declined. We probably could have stopped the print version a year ago," Rigano says. With more than 1 million user sessions per month, it's doubtful paper will be missed. "We've had very little negative feedback, mostly a few people who like paper because they have no computer," Rigano says. Data is now available free-of-charge at www.thomasnet.com.