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Death Of The Phonebook

 2:07 pm on Jun 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

Jeremy Peters writes an interesting piece in the New York Times.

Along with the population explosion goes a reduction in the number of pages in the phonebook:-

In Manhattan, the population in recent years has been growing at an annual rate of about 10,000 people, to about 1.6 million residents now. But the 2007 Verizon White Pages was 142 pages smaller than the 2006 edition. At 1,796 pages of listings, it is the smallest residential phone book for Manhattan since Verizon began publishing them in 2001.


Anyone still use the phonebook, or, if they're not on the web do they basically lose your business?



 4:11 pm on Jun 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

White pages (residential listings) and yellow pages (residential listings) are 2 completely different animals.

In additional to more people relying on cell phones, more people are changing from landlines to to VoIP (which doesn't get included in white pages, AFAIK). Also, as more people are concerned with their privacy, I'd assume more people are getting unlisted numbers.

Although I've used online white pages looing for people out of the immediate area, I can't remember the last time I cracked open a paper white pages. I pretty much already have contact information for the people I want to contact. I suppose if I lost my PDA and address book, I might need to go to the white pages to lookup someone. Then again, I'd probably go online first. :)


 4:21 pm on Jun 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

This phenomenon would be better described as "Death of the residential landline."

Why bother getting a home phone number when every family member already has their own cell phone number?


 4:30 pm on Jun 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

The only thing keeping landline numbers up in the UK is the need to have one for ADSL to be run down it, kind of ironic that the thing that is supposed to be eating away at redidential lines (VOIP) relies on such lines in the UK at least.

The UK alternative is Cable, but even that tends to be bundled with a phoneline as I'm guessing it costs so little to chuck into a package.

Will we ever see the day where whitebooks are opt-in and actually cost you money to have delivered? Maybe, either that or you'll have to buy one at a bookstore or newsagent in 10/20 years time.


 4:34 pm on Jun 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

Phone books ought to be scrapped - a perfect example of something the Internet does better.
In the UK a news story ran yesterday that telephone directories are hardly used (less than 6% of them) yet the UK is cutting down 2 MILLION trees a year to produce them.


 4:36 pm on Jun 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yellow Pages
Phone books delivered to your door.

<phonebooks> are as deprecated as the <font> element!


 4:41 pm on Jun 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

Phone books will always be useful for small kids to sit on when they eat
Thanksgiving Dinner at Grandmas house. KF

They also make good doorstops.


 4:46 pm on Jun 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

KF- for multi-purposing, they are still great! But for their original purpose, not so great any more.

However, I DID come up with one example where a yellow pages could be useful (for its intended purpose): your computer dies (so you can't get to the Internet) and you need to find a computer repair shop. :)


 6:33 pm on Jun 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

Absolutely. The phonebook is virtually useless to me and has been for a while. I prefer to log onto the same phone book online.

As for whether the internet does it better... it is faster and more convenient. But it still misses out looking up a number and finding a business name - which would be trivial to implement.


 6:35 pm on Jun 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

Ad cost in our local white and yellow pages rises every year regardless of the declining advertising effectiveness. The yellow page business has long been a goldmine.


 6:52 pm on Jun 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

Online phone books are good when you are looking for something outside your geographical area not covered in your local book. And books work when there is no power. However, I personally have had serious problems with online books. My local phone company, Verizon, for some reason has had my business listing messed up for years - they have me under Burglar Alarms which is the company that had my number before, instead of Web Designers. It has been a nightmare getting it straightened out. In the mean time, EVERY online book has also been wrong since they merely take their information from Verizon.

As for the decline in residential listings,VoIP and cell phones are not listed and I, like so many, do not list my home phone, which I like the fact the charge you $1.50 a month NOT to do something.



 7:23 pm on Jun 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

This phenomenon would be better described as "Death of the residential landline."

Yes, I can see that. I lumped the two together because I can only express how I feel about it personally.

I use the phone book for neither residential nor business numbers. If I can't find a business online, they don't get my trade. If I can't get a residential number by calling a couple of people I know, I don't call them - I email someone that I know they know instead.


 3:18 am on Jun 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

---Why bother getting a home phone number---

I asked my self this question about 4 years ago, when creditors started to be really booo, ongoing calling, almost 15 times daily. I couldn’t understand what the .... is going on, why do they call.

Apparently some one had raked up a lot of money thru CCs and took off outside of the country or something like that.

And here comes the kick… the persons name was 'Maria Innocent' and it was in the phone book under that number. So after we figure out what's going on it became a household joke, –‘ARE YOU Innocent, again?’. We end up dropping the land line. That was so long ago.


 3:08 pm on Jun 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Why bother getting a home phone number?

The only way I would even consider getting a phone number for home these days is if the phone company can guarantee me that the number has not been used. They have this thing with recycling phone numbers and in the past, I've received a recycled phone number that was previously a fax number. Every morning at 0200, I'd get incoming faxes, you know, spamming via fax? It wasn't long after that when I decided that I would use my cell phone in place of the home phone, I didn't need the home phone number any more.

I'm sure there are many in the same situation as evidenced by comments in this topic. Now I have my un-recycled Vonage number(s) that I can take with me wherever I go. :)


 5:45 am on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

Phone books ought to be scrapped - a perfect example of something the Internet does better.

Have you ever tried to find a truly local florist through the Internet?


 6:00 am on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

this thread led me to search the house for the yellow pages. couldn't find it. tried to remember the last time i used the yellow pages. couldn't remember.

wow. it's now a relic and i didn't even realize it.


 8:25 am on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

My house is packed with computers and equipment but I still look in the yellow pages phone book for local tradesmen.
Most of the smaller one man bands still don't have a website and those that do generally have offices and staff and charge considerably more.
If I relied on the web for a local plumber I'd drown before I found one.
Also what about the millions that don't have and don't want either a computer or internet access.
Don't write off the other advertising media just yet.


 2:13 pm on Jun 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

I've tried to use the various "local search" features at all the usual search engines. They're lame at best, and outright useless at worst, at least for my part of the country. I keep phone books and use them over the Internet every time I need to find something locally.


 4:12 am on Jun 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

I shop by using referalls from people I know in my community.

I take the phone directories I get and throw them in my field to decompose.

It takes around eight years for them to become soil depending.

Newspapers degrade much faster.

Web sites/pages can vaporize pretty fast, and don't leave any waste or add to my soil content.


 11:21 am on Jun 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

I shop by using referalls from people I know in my community.

That doesn't usually work at 5 a.m. when the waters pouring through the ceiling. Yellow pages local emergency services does.


 10:33 pm on Jun 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

I use Yellow Pages or Thompson when I need something local such as a car repair.

I don't think I have ever needed the white pages in the 12 years that I have lived in my present house. The few personal numbers that I have needed to look up have all been out of area anyway.

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