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Yellow Pages shock

yellow pages - it's a percentages gameI realise it shouldn’t have come as a shock to me but one day over the long weekend I got home to find a copy of the Yellow Pages directory on the doorstep. It was a shadow of its former self, so much so that the notion of someone being strong enough to tear a telephone directory in half is now a pathetic anachronism.

It is extremely unlikely that it will ever be opened in our house. Even my wife, the least web/tech savvy of us all, would use the internet to look up services. You do have to ask yourself who is going to use it, or even who advertises in it. I guess they are still after the reasonably significant percentage of us that are not yet online. The size of the actual directory (click on header image for full shot so compare with car key – also it was only around 1cm thick) as a percentage of its former self probably reflects the percentage of people still offline.


Trefor Davies

By Trefor Davies

Liver of life, father of four, CTO of, writer, poet,

9 replies on “Yellow Pages shock”

I know… the new style yellow pages is an undernourished, husk of a thing. But the biggest tragedy is the fact it exists at all in 2012… they should all be soaked with the tears of the rainforests and end up in a big pulpy mess.

I feel obliged to offer a counter example! Sunday afternoon, on a rural pub trail, in a pub, wanted to find out if another pub was going to be open. Mobile signal too poor for satisfactory data usage, asked for telephone directory, got a yellow pages, was scoffed at that it wouldn’t be in there. It was in there, I duly rang them up and got my answer and all before anyone else was anywhere near finding out anything from their phones.

I think the main problem with the Yellow Pages is that you have to pay to be in the thematic section, which is the bit that could be useful, otherwise it’s just a business telephone directory.

Hi Tref – Funny what information has been stored in my brain over the last few years – now a chance to release some of it! Yellow Pages started the re-sizing of their book in early late 2006/7 in Eastern Europe, however the format was no introduced in the UK until 2010. Yellow Pages showed an increase of 6.5% on average after the new size was published.

For most people in rural UK area’s who broadband is so slow i would have thought that these people may indeed reach for the Yellow Pages instead of having to start their PC, go to the Yellow Pages website and then finally get the number of the local business , that is if they do not offshore their calls 😉

I guess one day you may even blog Tref that upon your travels you saw a library – after all book were published online they closed them all.


“Big Evil” – Re: eBooks + Libraries
There will always be a small market for vanity press and art books. I’m one of those straddlers who buys both eBooks ( and hardcopies of my favorite authors. Yes, hardcopy is waning but it’s still a good-sized market and the decline is more due to the number of readers than the availability of eBooks. In fact, reading an eBook can trigger the purchase of that author’s hardcopy editions.

I suspect that you may be equating “library” with “book warehouse”. Current era libraries tend to be information portals with an assortment of media and connections to the Internet for those who need one. The library of the future will probably be a hybrid of library, community center, and an all-ages e-school. Most of that hybrid can be found at the library system I often use – San Francisco’s (Calif., USA). The cottage-sized book nooks will probably be replaced by a parking pad with data and power hardpoints. That pad would be used by bookmobiles and Health Service (or equiv.) outreach vans. So some of the libraries are (and will probably continue to be) mobile .

TK, bookworm

Nice points TK Bookworm.

I used that last paragraph in reference to iRobot – Quote:
“I suppose your father lost his job to a robot. or maybe you would have simply banned the Internet to keep the libraries open”.

I only use this as an example, meaning would all paper books be one day a thing of the past?

Indeed – i do know part of that being the network engineer who put wireless for public access in nearly all Lincolnshire libraries. 🙂


Coincidentally I’m going to spend some of my summer holiday putting together a collection of stuff from into a book – perhaps just ebook at this stage. It’s going to be called “The abandoned sandy shoe and other chinks through the curtains of life”.
That’s all.

BE – Good to hear that you were part of the effort to keep libraries relevant.

Tref – Thanks for reminding me to heave my extras into the recycling bin. I managed a sort of double redundancy – two (2) copies of the competitor’s traditional ripping challenge and a set from AT&T (a std. and a mini). The ones from AT&T got rained on so I set them aside to dry out and promptly forgot about them. So I’m going to say “Blue bin for you !” (blue = recycling) to the once wet extras (the Valley Pages spare is long gone). Even though production and disposal of yellow pages is expensive that form of advertising is still a very lucrative racket.

“I, robot” (Isaac Asimov, 1950, Lib. of Congress permalink)

Somerset County (UK)’s version of Link+ is LibrariesWest. Is this the “J R Hartley” you were looking for ?

By the way, Elsie ( has him on file but the Brit. Museum’s Libraries ( came up blank. I hope the above helps.

The other advantage I see to the hardcopy YP is the blind pin search method. Remember ? Open the book, close your eyes, stick your pin in, … I wonder how many people have learned English from the ads in a tossed copy of the YP ?

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