The catalog space is an expensive one. Printing and mailing costs are exorbitant and retailers never know who's looking at their books. Coffee Table aggregates the online "look books" of companies ranging from Macy's and L.L. Bean to Signals into one place for iPad users.
The company's 170 retail partners pay when users open their catalog. Catalog company RR Donnelly is Coffee Table's sole financial backer -- investing $2.5 million. (That's a move that makes sense, given that the catalog market generates $270 billion in sales each year.)