Getting rid of the phonebook

An interesting piece on BBC’s breakfast news about how the phonebook was getting thinner. I couldn’t believe they still make the phone book. In our house if the phone book comes in it’s almost always just put in the recycling and I’m sure I’m not the only one. The funny thing was that there was a phone book collector who felt genuinely upset at the fact that the phonebook might disappear. Making different / thinner versions isn’t the answer, especially as we move faster and more people find information online.

The commentator covering the story mentioned how most people under 30 probably don’t use a phone book. I would extend that and guess that most people under 50 don’t ever use the phone book for the purpose of finding numbers – using it as a doorstep or something else I’m sure is still done.

It reminds me of when I was a product manager in local government and we were considering a controversial decision to stop supporting some old version of Internet Explorer. The idea being that if many sites stopped supporting the old browser many people would upgrade.

I wish we had made the hard decision – which companies like Google made the year after we discussed it. I hope BT will stop making phone books and spend more on building great technology platforms to help people find this information online and helping the elderly or disconnected use technology more effectively. But I’m not holding my breath.

  • Funkstop

    Phonebooks will exist for as companies pay for ads in them. My dad for example still pays to advertise in the H-Town phonebook. Surprisingly, he still receives calls from potential customers who discover his business that way…

  • Farhan Lalji

    I can't believe the ad revenues make it a profitable business. Moving these customers online would be more efficient.