RIBA Product Selector Directory - a new era

March 2016

When Sony announced in November 2015 that it was to cease the production of Betamax video cassette tapes in March 2016 there was a collective and worldwide expression of shock…that the company was still making them.

As the Guardian newspaper commented, Sony was finally conceding “defeat to the march of time, 20, maybe 30, years late.”

The announcement triggered a whole raft of devotees to share their stories of allegiance to a format; a ship that despite its detractors, had taken 40 years to sink.

Sony’s decision also stimulated wider debate about format wars and how they will be played out in a digital world.

Here at NBS, we’ve seen a steady and inexorable shift towards our customers getting their information digitally. The introduction of BIM has undoubtedly played a part but so too has the changing world at large.

Our customers book their holidays, buy their books and stream their music online, so it’s hardly surprising that they now want to access our specification and product information the same way.

With this in mind, we’ve been looking at RIBA Product Selector over recent years and tracking how our audiences have been turning in increasing numbers to online sources. Whilst the circulation of the printed directory has been falling steadily, the number of users of our digital content has grown exponentially.

For instance, the NBS National BIM Library now has over 38,000 registered users.  There were almost 20,000 new user registrations in 2015 and over 2,000 in January 2016 alone.

For more than 30 years, RIBA Product Selector has been one of the premier sources of information about building products.  However, the growing preference for digital content has led us to the decision to stop producing the printed directory, meaning that the 2016 edition will be the last.

For us and many of our customers, this represents the end of an era. The directory was first released in 1982, the year Michael Jackson released his classic ‘Thriller’ album. Whilst the directory hasn’t had quite the same record-breaking success, an average annual circulation of 20,000 - including countries around the globe from Australia to Japan - shows it has withstood the test of time and continued to provide the detailed information construction professionals require.

The final 2016 edition of RIBA Product Selector is a case in point - it contains:

Our decision to focus online from now on will enable us to build on this wealth of information and focus even more resources on making our digital product information the best in the industry; providing specifiers with free-to-use information that is constantly updated, along with additional content that is simply not possible within a printed directory.  

As the UK’s industry-leading online index of manufacturers’ product information, ribaproductselector.com received more than 2.3 million page views in 2015 from over 660,000 different users.   

Products are categorised by our experts and CI/ SfB classified so that construction industry professionals can find them.  Specifiers can email manufacturers direct from the website with a request for further information, and contact details and a link to each manufacturer’s own website home page are included.  

As digital construction becomes the norm, it will become increasingly important for information about building products to be available online and in formats that enable them to be integrated seamlessly into the digital design process.

With ribaproductselector.com externallink as with the NBS BIM Library and NBS BIM Toolkit, NBS remains committed to making construction industry professionals’ lives easier, delivering the most distinctive, detailed and structured information available.

Register to receive your FREE copy of the final print directory

Don't forget you can register to receive your copy of the final print directory at www.ribaproductselector.com/registerbook externallink. Postage within the UK is free. If you wish for the directory to be shipped overseas there will be a fee to cover overseas postage.