CHOICE membership

Telephone Directories. Does Anyone Still Use Them?


I noticed something rolled up in the newspaper slot of our mailbox this weekend and I was surprised to discover it was the latest Telstra phone directory.

It has reduced from some 1,200 pages in the Yellow Pages and even more pages in the White Pages back in the 1990’s to a little over 200 pages in the Yellow pages and less than 300 pages in the White Pages this year, in addition to the page size being dramatically reduced.

The advertisers have abandoned the directories and nobody I know actually uses them anymore.

It is much quicker and easier to use the online versions or to simply Google things.

Why does Telstra ontinue to waste money and paper on producing these outdated items?



Great question.

I don’t have a Telstra service and they still drop them off!

Fortunately I walk past the recycling bin to go back to the front door.

My not that long passed parents and still living Mother in Law made good use of them. There are still those who do not have a smart mobile phone or IT device or also the skill set to use either? Unfortunately like my M-in-L, I too need at least a 5x magnifier to use the latest ‘squint-ectory’.

Size does matter - really. :wink:


This 2-year dated article might explain it.


A great article which I had not previously read, but even by Sensis’s (Telstra’s) own admissions, the phone directory is going the same way as the video rental business model, school slates, enamel cookware, cast iron stoves and the horse & cart.


The White pages nor the Yellow pages have been delivered to my address for a long time.
While I can look up phone numbers on line, I miss them because I used to stand on them to reach the uppermost shelves in my kitchen. :wink:


Personally I find it much more productive to look in the Yellow Pages for businesses, avoiding all the advertising and irrelevent cr@p that internet searches deliver when searching for a business to suit my needs.
Apart from that, my wife had her pic on the cover last year, so throwing it out would not be a good move!

Whether or not you have a Telstra account, or even a phone doesn’t really matter, they are generally delivered to all addresses AFAIK.


Our rural address gets two directories; one “Telstra” from (which we have to pick up from our Post office) and one delivered from Local Search which covers a smaller area. As the internet and Local Search book fill our needs, I have not picked up our Telstra book this year. I occasionally use the paper directory when the internet is down (satellite system) or I can’t be bothered trawling through the internet. I get frustrated with White/Yellow Pages’ suggestions or getting the right category to find a business. Often rural businesses are multifaceted, but listed under one category eg where we get our tractor & dozer repairs, is listed under Steel Supplier.

Mr Z, who can’t bear to throw anything out, had directories back to 1993 and argued he had to keep them in case he wanted to know what someone’s number was. He had cause to ring his employer to say he could not get through due to floodwaters. Totally ignoring the laminated card of contacts they gave him, he looked up their 1993 number (added the extra digit) and called, totally confusing the receptionist at what was now a labour hire firm. His office had moved 20 years ago and now had new numbers. It took another 12 months before he let me put them in recycling.

I delivered phone books with the Scouts for many years. But in recent times the contractor would only pay us 12 months later when we refused to deliver that year’s until we were paid for last year.


I look forward to getting our local business directories each year as they are actually useful. We have a LocalSearch and one from the local newspaper. If you want to find a service that is physically nearby with little effort then they are good. The online yellow pages gives far too many false positives as ever-hopeful advertisers say they they will service your area from 100 km away or more. I don’t want to drive that far unless there is no choice and for those who need to come to my place - forget it.


We still use telephone directories. They have many uses. When we want a tradesman, we can see a whole lot of businesses on one page, while in Google the information is more fragmented. When we need an address and we know the name of the person, we can easily find it. In Google this is far more difficult. The same goes for Government Departments.


Community - No idea what your first line means.
We are older and certainly do use the local and Telstra books. I had a need to look up a number and found it ‘point something of a second’ before my grandniece using the internet. I can’t see where and why one benefits the other in time. But then I am a dinosaur anyway.

Please keep them for a little longer yet. there are plenty of we dinosaurs out here who do not have a computer even.

Regards to all


You can cancel or order phone books by going to It works - I have not received phone books since I cancelled the deliveries.


Living way out of town means that more often than not we don’t get them delivered - have to go into town, 35km away, to get one if required.


I actually have friends, much younger than me, who refuse to use the internet, which as a research freak, I cannot even fathom :scream::scream:
So I’m guessing she would actually use the Yellow pages. She also believes that she is adding to the community and keeping people in jobs, by queuing up at the PO to pay her bills, hence her justification for no internet.
As for the Yellow pages…my experience contacting any tradies, no matter where I find them…local paper, Facebook, Gumtree, google…for every 20 I contact, maybe 2 get back to me and if lucky, maybe 1 comes around for a quote…and then it’s 50/50 whether I actually see the quote. Can’t see the Yellow Pages helping those stats…
As an aside…what do you do when you just can’t source anyone for maintenance work at home? For about 3 years, off and on, I’ve been looking for someone to fix my retaining wall…yes, it is a bit more complex than most…but no one is interested. These TV home shows have a lot to answer for…they make everything look sooooo easy…


We always try to get recommendations for tradies from contacts, retailers and such if we do not know of a suitable business instead of playing “Russian Roulette”.

We recently needed to get a couple of new gates and a fence return supplied and installed and we asked the leading fence material supply business in Cairns if they could recommend someone, which they did.

We called the person who promptly inspected the required work, provided a quote within our expectations, and completed the work to our satisfaction.



I still use the printed edition of the phone directory. It is quicker and easier than turning the computer on. The numbers I regularly use are written on the cover to make using it even quicker. At least this year the company has the courtesy to put the white pages before the yellow pages!


And also the same way up so that you don’t have to turn it upside down to go from one to the other.

Perhaps a bit like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic or closing the barn door after the horse has bolted.


While life is different in some areas, before abandoning the printed books long ago it became apparent that the once a year update cycle clearly did not reflect local businesses that opened and closed during the period, and many people were not listed because of privacy laws anyway.

To each their own, with the limitations they prefer.


Since Christmas I haven’t used a paper copy of a telephone directory. I have however used Whitepages online for finding the address of a friend to send a card and also the phone number of someone else.

I haven’t personally used the yellowpages for years…but have used it from time to time in relation to making replies on this forum for dodgy businesses (as part of searching business details).


Do I still use the paper directories? No.

Does anyone still use the paper directories? Yes.

(Some people claim it is faster, if you have a computer and the internet, to use the paper version, although that might depend on how often you use it. I’m pretty sure I would be all at sea trying to use a paper directory.)

Do I use the online versions of the paper directories? Yes.


There’s always a need for a computer monitor stand!