“Web Extends Distribution Services’ Reach,” Liahona, Mar. 2009, N4–N5
For many members of the Church who need essential Church materials and supplies, such as pictures, temple clothing, scriptures, or other distribution items, getting to a distribution center can be costly and time consuming, even with many such centers around the world.
“We still have many, many members of the Church who are hours away [from a center] who can have products right at their fingertips—shipped directly to their door so they don’t have to travel to a distribution center,” said Jim Christensen, manager of product development for Church Distribution Services.
Distribution Services uses the Internet to expand the shopping options available to many members of the Church, though language, currency, and location do prevent some from using the online services. Country Web sites have been created to serve specific areas throughout the world.
Included in those areas is a site based in Argentina, a site based in Australia, and a site for members in the United States and Canada. A Web site hosted in Germany and designed to serve most of Europe is currently being developed. Other sites are planned for future development.
Members can access all of the sites by going to LDSCatalog.com and clicking on Country Sites at the top of the page.
The materials offered online are available for the same price as at distribution centers. Items ordered from the U.S. Web site and shipped to addresses in the U.S. and Canada are sent without shipping fees.
Materials ordered from country distribution sites are shipped from local distribution centers when possible to avoid international shipping fees and import and export duties that members would have to pay.
The site often gives purchasers more options than a distribution center. “There is a greater selection,” said Steve Argyle, presentations coordinator for Distribution Services. “At local distribution centers there are often space restrictions. Online you can get everything that we offer.”
The Web site allows buyers to purchase items or leads them to where they can find more information on what they are looking for.
The Web site has a section entitled “New Items,” which identifies products recently made available, such as pictures of newly dedicated temples, current issues of the Church magazines, and other new products.
Curriculum items are currently available through the Web site in English, Spanish, and French. Gospel study materials, manuals, catalogs, and other resources are available to benefit homes, wards, and branches. Church units can order curriculum material for all auxiliaries for the year from the site, along with specific materials catering to the needs of members in their units with limited sight or hearing or other disabilities.
Information regarding family history work, including supplies for family history centers, census information, hints on how to begin, and other useful resources are available to help those who would like to get started in family history work. Software downloads are also available through Distribution Services.
For artwork seen in the Church Materials Catalog, visitors to the Web site can search by title or by artist, making prints more readily available to members around the world.
Brother Argyle said that Distribution Services makes materials available to members in a variety of ways, including telephone, fax, and mail orders. The Web sites are one more way to achieve that goal. “The Web site is just one part of a plan that makes Church materials accessible to all Church members,” he said.