Bye Bye Phone Books…

My home office has a huge set of windows facing the street in front of my home. Moments ago an older couple (obviously performing part time work) drove up in their van. They’re distributing Yellow Pages from and dropped a huge yellow book with a plop on my front stoop.

Unfortunately, we don’t use phone books anymore so I immediately took it and dropped it in to our recycle container. I wonder how many other people do the same thing?

What does our family use instead? Everything we need is at our fingertips over the internet and we use a wireless laptop in the kitchen eating area (which is always on) to immediately look up whatever we need. It’s much faster than paging through paper books and more current. We use sites like Switchboard, Anywho, Bigbook and WhitePages. When I’m mobile, I use Google SMS to make a query with an near instantaneous return (it helps, though, that I have a Blackberry since typing on a mobile phone is painful and a city/state needs to be input as well).

Every year Qwest drops off two enormous yellow page books and one white page book which get tossed right in to the recycle bin. A book for my city of Eden Prairie gets dropped off too…though it’s fairly small and does get used some times.

It wasn’t until these people walked up tonight that the realization dawned on me about what a profound change had occurred. Besides not using phone books anymore, we’ve also been toying with the idea of cancelling our home phone and use our mobile phones exclusively (along with Skype) and we’ve already cancelled our second line (which was primarily a fax line used maybe 5 times per year).

I’d sure hate to be in the Plain Old Telephone System (POTS) business right now…or a publishing company dependent upon use of a yellow or white page to sell advertising.

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  1. Steve Peterson on August 7, 2005 at 11:20 pm

    You can really see the future of the phone book when you drive through neighborhoods around the University of Minnesota. They were delivered there months ago and still sit on many front porches.

  2. Steve Borsch on August 8, 2005 at 1:48 pm

    Interesting. Maybe since students wouldn’t dream of spending the time to page through paper? I also just talked with several of my neighbors and discovered they’d tossed theirs out too.

  3. Garrick Van Buren .com on August 25, 2005 at 11:52 am

    The New Phonebooks are Here, Please Recycle

    Growing up, I always looked forward to the new phonebooks. Visiting my grandparents, I spent hours exploring the big city via their encyclopedic yellow pages. Steve Martin’s classic Jerk only amplified my enthusiasm and provided a chorus.

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Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.