Another area where digital is making paper redundant

Our new Yellow Pages was delivered last week and it sat on the doorstep for almost a week before I took pity on it and brought it inside. 

I then removed it from its cellophane wrapper and promptly put it straight in the recycling. 

It's not that I don't value the content of the Yellow Pages any more, I just have no use for the big doorstop directory that gets delivered every year. 

And the reason is quite simple – their digital offering When you can do a simple search and narrow it down by distance and subject, why would you trawl through the directory. 

And, while you can pay a little extra for preferential listing, the digital offering does away with different sizes and shapes that people used to display in the directory. Most entries are on a relatively equal listing, which can only be a good thing. 

But it's not just the Yellow Pages that is being superseded. The Argos catalogue has become superfluous in our house. If I want something I'll do a search for it online, not try to identify which obscure section of the catalogue it's in. Even better, you can find out there and then, if it's in stock and even reserve it, saving you a trip down to the local store, only to discover it's not available. 

Obviously catalogues aren't completely redundant, but unless you're desperate to see exactly how a certain product looks in situ, which the likes of  the Ikea and Next directories occasionally manage, they seem to be a bit of a waste of time and energy. 

They can still be worth the effort, though. Aubin & Wills – my new favourite clothes store – shows how it can be done well. Every season, they put together an almanac which showcases their new ranges. 

Admittedly Aubin & Wills doesn't have the breadth of merchandise of a Next or Argos, but they cleverly complement the fashion shoots and products in the almanac with commissioned features about a variety of different subjects, making it something you genuinely want to read and spend time poring over.  

In the same way that more niche and specialist magazines will probably quite comfortably survive the digital revolution, because the content isn't something you can easily get online, so this type of catalogue or directory will once again become added value from more exclusive retailers, rather than the norm from mass-market companies. Interesting times.

Posted via email from Rob’s stream of web

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