Monday, June 08, 2009

That Yellow Book

This is probably only peripherally related to books, but it caught my eye. That yellow book most of us grew up with, the Yellow Pages, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The Denver Business Journal actually started off their article about this with:
CEO Dave Swanson says that no one could have foreseen the series of events that led to the tattered Yellow Pages publisher filing Friday for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection …
Seriously? No one? That’s because they didn’t talk to me. I could’ve told them.

I haven’t opened a Yellow Pages in years. Shoot, I don’t think I’ve opened the white pages in over a year.

I, like umpteen million other people, use the Internet.

You’d think Swanson might have suspected something.
… the company has been hit with double-digit drops in advertising revenue caused by Internet competition and the recession.

“I wish it would have turned out differently,” Swanson said. “No one could have put this into their economic modeling.”
No one? Seriously?

How about you? Could you have predicted this?
TweetIt   from HubSpot


  1. Sure. Just like paper news - doomed for years to oblivion sooner or later. By the time a newpaper comes out the news is already old. And my cell phone will get me any phone number faster than flipping thru yellow pages and trying, usually frustrated without success, to find a proverbial needle in a haystack.

    The Old Silly From Free Spirit Blog

  2. I actually love flipping open that giant book to look for something. Normally chinese take-out places with menus in the book.

    Makes sense though. You can find almost everything in that book, online now.

  3. Some of them charge for online services. That probably helps them stay afloat.

    I usually use Google for info, so I can see how phone directory revenue is affected. However, believe it or not, there are still people out there who hate to use computers. They won't be happy without their phone directories.

    Morgan Mandel

  4. I quit using yellow pages for the most part when other companies got into the business. In our area alone, there are 3 or 4 companies that print a yellow page type book - the internet is certainly easier than thumbing through all of them in the hopes of finding what I'm looking for.

    Jane Kennedy Sutton

  5. I don't use the Yellow Pages much either, normally only if I'm visiting someone else, or if my internet is down.

    Of course, it seems to me that if they were smarter about distributing their books, they could have saved a ton. Every year, I somehow end up with at least three books. Not good! That's way too much waste.

  6. Considering the writing's been on the wall for newspapers for several years, you would think the Yellow Pages had a clue! Besides, print advertising is SO much more expensive than Web advertising.

    I use mine once in a while, but the Internet is my primary source as well.

    L. Diane Wolfe

  7. I live in rural (and I mean RURAL) Maine. I use the phone book practically daily. The internet doesn't give me jack that's useful for up here. I also find though that a lot of one-man businesses (e.g. contractors) use a personal cell phone for a business line, so they are not in the book listed as a business, or you have to know their name to look them up.

    So I can sort of see the problem for Yellow Book. I hope it sticks around in a digital format. That would have been the smart thing on their part, developing a web presence akin to Google. In fact, if they'd approached Google, they could have partnered up.

  8. I think it also reflects a change in mobility. Most of the people I need to call are in other cities. As often as not, the businesses I want to contact are in other cities also. As a result, I use the internet much more than I use a phone book.

  9. Meg hit the nail on the head. You can find a specific address or phone number on line easier than in the phone book. But if you want all the Greek restaurants or plumbing supply places in town it's hard to beat the Yellow Pages. You'll miss a lot of them on Google Maps. (I just did a quick search for Greek restaurants on Google Maps and the most famous one is St. Louis did not come up.)

    But times change. As more and more people go online to find an address or phone number more and more business yank their adds from the YP, so it is no longer as comprehensive a source as it used to be. I'm sure in time it will all be online.

    But yeah, anyone should have seen it coming.

    We do still use the phone books at our house, by the way, both yellow and white. I won't particularly miss them when they're gone.

  10. I use the phone book but not the yellow pages very often. Mostly because many people don't advertise there.

  11. I used to work for a prestigious law firm. At first, years ago, they paid BIG bucks for what is called a "double truck" (two color pages) placed at the front of the attorney section. By the time I left a few years ago, they were considering whether to even bother with any advertising in the yellow book. Such is the power of the Internet.

  12. No wonder Yellow Book has been calling two or three times a week wanting us to advertise. The callers are obviously from foreign countries and difficult to understand although they say their names are Thomas Jones or Susie Brown.

    That's a huge turnoff and I'm sure leads to a large drop in revenue.

  13. Chapter eleven huh? Now there’s a surprise…not. When my yellow and white pages show up at the front door—unsolicited, I might add. They go from front porch to recyle without any intermediate stops. I’m with Marvin, who wrote, “doomed for years to oblivion.”

    One frightening note, Chapter Eleven means they could come back. Ugh.

    Best Regards, Galen.

  14. I have to admit, I'm like you, Galen. I pick up the books (we seem to get several, some of them the official Yellow Book and some knock-offs) and take them straight to recycling. I usually keep the official one, but it just sits in the cabinet until next year's takes its place.

  15. I'll sometimes use the yellow pages because I want to really look at the pages. All the different vendors selling the one thing or service I'm looking for. And I have to admit, I'm affected by the layout of the ad.

    But I'm thinking Swanson was playing with us -- a bit of dry, extremely dry humor.

    Who could NOT have forseen this?

  16. It sort of made me think of the regular book publishers who for so long pooh-poohed ebooks as a fad that would never take hold.

  17. Good. At least I won't have to lug any more of those things to the recycle bin. Now I need to figure out how to get that big department store chain to stop sending me so many catalogs. I know there's a way.


  18. For a few years we received several varieties of phone books, one official and others of another type. We keep the one from Ma Bell, but seldom open it. Maybe twice a year and at least one of those times it will not be helpful. As for not seeing this coming, that happens with selective blindness disease.

  19. We still get catalogs, but not as many as before.

    My guess is that the Yellow Pages will continue. They're trying to regroup. Maybe they'll have more of an online presence now.

  20. But what will my 3-year old granddaughter sit on at the table, when she comes to visit? That's what I use my Yellow book for -- she can't sit on the Internet.

  21. LOL, sure thinking about it, the writing is pretty much on the wall, but from the standpoint that it is a tradition - an icon of sorts, yeah, I was surprised when I read your opening sentence. Its just one of those things you expect to be there.

    Like you, I can't remember the last time I used a phone book...except to pick it up off the front porch and toss it in a drawer...okay. You made your point. LOL.

    Nancy, from Just a Thought…

  22. Kim, if you have a copy now, you might want to save it.

  23. Don't they have online version? I haven't opened a white or yellow pages for ages but I use the online ones a lot.

    In Quest of Theta Magic

  24. Enid, I was in the AT&T store yesterday (looking at iPhones) and I saw an ad for an app so you can get The Yellow Pages on your phone. So, they're making the switch to the Internet.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...