Post by Andy Pastuszak on Jun 22, 2020 4:27:48 GMT
I feel like the annual release of the Scott Catalog is far more frequent than it needs to be. Do we really need a WHOLE NEW catalog every single year? Do stamp values really change all that much year after year? Wouldn’t just using the Scott Stamp Monthly for updates and printing every other year be a more sane strategy?
I also feel that Scott should get out of the “World Catalog” business and just focus on the countries that are it’s core competence such as the US and Canada and offer catalogs from other companies to fill in the world. Why should Scott do all the work for Germany, when they can sell a US translation of the MICHEL catalog. Does anyone actually use Scott numbers when buying Australian stamps? Even US dealers list Stanley Gibbons.
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I agree that Scott doesn't need to release a complete set of catalogs every year. But I am biased because I don't buy a complete set of catalogs every year.
That being said...
The way they have the catalogs arranged, they don't have much choice right now. They would have to do some major re-arrangement, and they haven't been willing to do that since 1998 when they moved British Commonwealth from Volume 1 into the rest of the volumes in alphabetical order -- thereby forcing BC collectors to buy the entire WW set, or reduce the frequency of catalog purchases. Instead of working toward creating logical collecting volumes, Scott tends toward consolidation into the standard alphabetical WW set.
-- Scott doesn't update prices for every country every year, only the most active/popular countries (prices for several countries remain un-updated or partially updated for several years at a stretch)
-- Scott continues to have Germany in their catalog, probably for the same reason SG and Michel continue to include US in their catalogs (if you want to be the primary source, sometimes you have to include inferior products just to be the "one-stop" source; it only has to be "good enough" for the general collector)
-- If Scott focused on Canada, they would likely lose out to Unitrade (a significantly better product). Scott might end up only being able to take a cut from the licensing of Scott catalog numbers. In the early 1980s, before Scott colorized their WW catalog in 2006, Scott actually produced a color specialized catalog for Canada (I still have it). The product didn't last very long, and they didn't even have Unitrade to compete with them back then.
Amos can either 1) stay the same and go the way of the buggy whip, 2) cut & run to downsize, 3) make a better product, 4) innovate and make different products... They tried #4 several times with sparse success so far (Classic catalog was one of the better ideas... while most of their new products over the years failed within a few years). They've made occasional progress on #3 (colorization received more positive than negative response...). Are they really to the point of #2? Supplies/albums, I can understand; but the catalogs? One things for sure, #1 is not a good choice.
To me, having an inferior product does not necessarily mean one has to cut and run/downsize. Sometimes, competition is a good thing -- especially if it motivates you to try harder to produce a better product. But can Amos produce better & innovative catalog products?
I would be happy with a yearly download of some sort, and do away with the printed versions all together. Sure would take up less desk space.
So would I. But ridiculous Scott pricing and software pirates have repeatedly killed off those forays.
Before they drastically reduced their print runs, I was purchasing clearance sets at the end of the catalog year for ~$100. I would very likely be willing to pay $100 every year or two for a downloadable digital set. But it's not going to happen.
Scott is paranoid that software sales will eat into their print catalog sales, so there's a very minimal price reduction for digital Scott catalogs. I admit feeling stupid, buying the digital catalog from Amos back in 2005, with only $5-$10 shaved off the print catalog price. Given the obvious drop in Scott print catalog sales in the past 10 years, there won't be much left to "eat into".
Maybe Scott should think about doing what other catalog manufacturers do, issue the catalogs by geographic area.
They do think about it. They just won't pull the trigger. They seem dead set on trying to preserve standard WW set sales. As mentioned before, when they make a change, it is to consolidate (e.g., British Commonwealth volume combine with rest of WW volumes) rather than to separate into further logical volumes.
I have a set (used 2016 and 2017 era, mostly from a library). If you go through the catalogs, the new pages are mostly the postal agencies printing various souvenir sheets. Stamp pricing is not varying dramatically so warrant buying.
I would prefer regional and the SG 1840 to 1970 Commonwealth seems perfect but need Scott since I speak "Scott" with other US collectors so need the translation guide. Steiner pages are based upon Scott.
A new collector today faces a different wold now. If they collect worldwide, they may be told to buy printed albums and set of worldwide catalogs. This is
a significant outlay.
To those that do buy a new set every year, what information do you want: latest prices, latest issues, improved editorial (added listings, etc).?
I don't think I've ever personally met a collector who bought a new Scott WW set every year. No doubt there are; I haven't really met that many collectors. Everyone I've met who did annual Scott catalog purchases were all dealers or libraries.