I just realized, that Lionel wanted everyone to go to there local hobby shop to pick up a paper copy. Since some of the stores are dealing with the downside of internet sales, Lionel wanted to encourage everyone by going to their local hobby shop by getting their paper copy 2 weeks early.
Bingo. I think that's exactly right. I went to a hobby shop with my daughter today. This shop always gets their catalogs late. They had a whole stack of new catalogs. That July 22 date was a ruse all along.
I seriously doubt this is to send folks scrambling to their LHS to get a "sneak peak.". Fewer and fewer people have access to a LHS nowadays. It's also interesting that the photo's of the catalog pages or product/price listings haven't been struck down like they were for V1.
All the catalog release does is create product buzz for an additional two weeks before the catalog goes online. Products aren't going to get here any faster.
I'd be willing to bet Lionel's own store in the Concord Mall began offering the catalogs last Friday...