I’m trying to remember the last time I looked something up in the phone book.  Honestly, I have no idea.  I do remember the last time I tried to remember.  It was a year ago, when the 2009 phone books arrived at my house.

Which means the 2010 books arrived today.

A year ago, I took the new books up to my office, where I kept them.  As I took the old books out, I realized I hadn’t touched them since I’d put them away a year ago.  I simply don’t use the phone book.

Things were different this year — the books go in the built-in desk in the remodeled kitchen.  Looking at new and old editions of the Yellow Pages,  I realized that I’m not the only one who doesn’t use the phone book  (2010 book is on the right):

Faces only a mother could love?

Nothing remarkable (other than proof that marketing has completely trumped esthetics).  Notice the thickness, though:

Old media may not die, but they seem to shrink away.

First Class Plumbing LLC has stayed true to Verizon, though I have to admit it’s the first time I’ve noticed there was an ad on the bottom edge of the phone book.  For those who prefer hard numbers:


The new Yellow Pages (lower part of the picture) has a page count 13% lower than the old one for stuff that matters–the actual listings, as opposed to filler like seating plans for stadiums.

No real surprise here, just mild bemusement as I observe the Changing of the Phone Book ritual.  I realize that many people still do rely on the phone book–not everyone’s running around with a smartphone.  Many more, though, turn online for their first-choice source of information.  Inertia may keep the books coming for a long time yet, but friction’s going to keep whittling down their size.