A mail-order catalog is a publication containing a list of general merchandise from a company. Companies who publish and operate mail-order catalogs are referred to as catalogers within the industry. Catalogers buy or manufacture goods then market those goods to prospects (prospective customers). Many catalogers, just as with most retailers, are increasingly buying goods from China. Catalogers "rent" names from list brokers or cooperative databases. The catalog itself is published in a similar fashion as any magazine publication and distributed through a variety of means, usually via a postal service and the internet.
The first mail-order catalog was Sears.