Who uses the phone book anymore?

A couple days ago we received our new phone book. Actually, we got four new phone books — and these are just the ones from our local phone provider. An independent publisher in our our area also publishes another three books, for a total of seven books a year.

You know what? I just realized that I hadn’t cracked even one of these books in the past year. If I need a number, I look it up on Google. So I took my four new books, plus the two I bothered to keep from last year’s assortment, and I put them straight into the recycle bin! Fascinating, isn’t it, that just as telephone books have become essentially irrelevant, they have simultaneously exploded into use, with separate regional and local books, with white and yellow pages, even a compact yellow pages for those who can’t be bothered with the big book. I suppose it’s the desperate last gasp of the phone directory business, before it withers into obscurity.

The only paper directory I could imagine wanting anymore was one completely customized to my own needs. If the phone company could give me a listing of all the numbers I dialed in the past, say, five years, with names, addresses, and updates in case any of that information has changed, supported by perhaps 20 pages of advertising for products and services I may be interested in based on my calling tendencies, I just *might* be interested in that.

It could be a handy quick reference, for those rare times when a computer isn’t readily available (suppose, say, Jim is using my laptop to play World of Warcraft, and Greta’s taken hers on a business trip). But that’s it. There’s really no reason anyone with a fast Internet connection would prefer to use four, 1000-page tomes.

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6 Responses to Who uses the phone book anymore?

  1. Pingback: Edward Champion’s Return of the Reluctant » Roundup

  2. cp says:

    you sometimes can’t beat the yellow pages for categorized listings

  3. dave says:

    I don’t know, CP. I can do a Google search for “auto service 28036″ and get a map of the closest car repair shops to my home. I can do the same thing with chinese restaurants, or any other category I choose. I’m not sure how the yellow pages can improve on this.

  4. ryan says:

    You would think that we’d see a decline in print phone books, especially with the rise of online search. Places like MerchantCircle are trying to help here. By the way check out this funny video about the yellow pages. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hK1LGz2EdD0

  5. Pat says:

    I put a copy in the trunk of the car, in case a need arises while running errands in the
    neighborhood. Haven’t used it yet.

  6. coturnix says:

    - birdcage liner paper
    – paperweight
    – cockroach killer
    – doorstop

    Who says phonebooks are useless?

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