Why Won't Phone Books Die?

The history of the yellow book:

In 1906, Jews in Trenton threatened to boycott Bell over a resort listing's promise, "Free From Hebrews and Tuberculosis Patients." Temperance groups in the North agitated to ban brewery ads from directories, while some Southern directories segregated into separate sections for "white" and "colored" numbers. Women's directory struggles are still within living memory: NYNEX's first listings for birth-control counseling only appeared in 1967, while Bell fought well into the late 1970s to deny women equal billing alongside their husbands in household listings, claiming it required too much extra paper and ink.

And why they won't go away:

Ask anyone under 30 about phone books, though, and you might as well inquire about Victrola needles. The Yellow Pages Association claims that even young households use them when the occasiona wedding, for instancedemands reliable listings. But printed phone books are a maturing industry, with only about six in 10 businesses and individuals still regularly relying on them. Yet even as directories hemorrhage content to the Web and to unlisted cell numbers, enough oldstersthose, say, who still recall physically dialing numbers in a rotary motioncontinue using them enough to keep profits rolling in.