Remember phone books? If not, your parents might. Try tapping their name on your touch-enabled smart phone and asking them to tell you some stories.
Apparently, back before the Internet, people used to get these gigantic, printed books delivered to their house that contained the address and phone number of every individual and businesses within a certain location. If you needed to get in touch with a neighbor or order a pizza, you’d crack open this massive volume and page through it to find the number.
As crazy as it seems, many households still get these books delivered to their door, even as most people turn to the Internet for information like this.
Nearly 70% of adults in the U.S. “rarely or never” use the phone book, according to a recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive. Instead, most of them (60%) use the Internet to find contact information, a number that’s certain to continue to rise, especially as smart phone adoption and location-based services both grow.
The research was conducted on behalf of the online phone directory site WhitePages.com, which runs an online campaign called Ban the Phone Book designed to educate the public about the waste created by the continued production of phone books, 165,000 tons of which they say end up in landfills every year.
While not at all surprising, the fact that most people are moving away from the old-fashioned phone book is significant for many small, local businesses, some of which still advertise in the phone book.
For consumers, however, the act of pulling out a laptop, tablet or smart phone and searching for whatever you need at that moment is naturally easier and more instananeous than paging through a giant book. With services like Yelp, Google Local, 411.com and a host of other directory sites, it’s only a matter of time before the paper-based phone book disappears.
What do you think? Is the phone book as good as dead? Let us know in the comments whether or not you’ve used one in the last year.
Photo by Flickr user Jamiesrabbits