15 Comments Published by kurvie on Monday, August 10, 2009 at 9:57 AM.
Recently, and for a two week period of time, two phone books had been sitting on my porch, unwrapped and unused. I finally recycled them when I noticed they were getting warped and soggy from the recent rains. As I threw them in the recycle bin I thought to myself, I wonder how many people actually use the phone book?
In my curiosity, I quickly posted my thought on Facebook and within an hour 15 people had left their answers: a defiant No!
My scope became broader. If this many people had quickly and passionately answered, would the answer be the same or different in other metropolis areas? For instance, in Kansas City it's fairly common that you own and drive a vehicle to get around. In New York City, many people do not own a vehicle. The same goes for Wi-Fi internet access; it is widely available and used in Kansas City, but I found it quite difficult to find a Wi-Fi signal most places I went on a recent trip to New York City. Maybe the signals are blocked by tall buildings? Using this logic, could the feeling of printed phone books be different in different cities?
Sean Fallon of gizmodo.com blogs about his disgust with phone books, "It would seem that this epic tree rape is largely unnecessary, given the fact that the internet and many of our cellphones can provide contact information quickly and easily." With a total of 9748 votes, only 4% answered Yes, 76% answered No, and 20% answered Rarely.
Kathy Murdock of allbusiness.com has written about her non-use of a phone book while she lived in L.A. to her dependency on it now living in a small town in Georgia. She says, "In a small town, most businesses are NOT online...I've made so many random notes in the margins of pages and flipped down so many pages that it looks as though I have owned this book for two years and not just two short weeks."
Ink Magazine recently posted an article entitled Do you still want a paper phone book? on it's Frink Panel. The article reads,
"The White Pages phone book no longer matters in most households. The latest sign of its shrunken role is a tentative deal in Missouri that would let AT&T stop automatic delivery to homes and businesses on the Missouri side of the Kansas City and St. Louis areas. Customers could still request a directory, but only a small fraction are expected to do so.
Deliver of AT&T's Yellow Pages would not be affected, and there is no plan to stop automatic delivery in Kansas.
Last year AT&T stopped automatic delivery of the phone book in Atlanta with the promise of giving one to any customer who still wanted it. By April, only 1 percent of its customers had asked for one."
The state of Oregon, a very eco-conscience place, has gone so far as to submit legislation - HB 3477 - basically stating (according to BlueOregon.com):
"The Legistlative Assembly finds that the annual, if not more frequent, distribution of hard copies of telephone directories by multiple publishers to persons at their residences without first determining whether such persons want or will use the directories constitutes both a waste and misuse of paper and natural resources and a harm to the environment without justification. The Legislative Assembly declares that it is in the public interest to establish a prohibition on the distribution of hard copies of telephone directories unless a person specifically requests the delivery of an identified telephone directory. (2) A person may not distribute a hard copy of a telephone directory to another person at the other person's residence in this state unless specifically requested by the other person to do so. A request under this subsection may be made in writing or submitted using the internet."
After doing some research, I was unable to find any stats as to how many people actually use the printed phone book and where they reside. So here's my question to the blogosphere: Do you want/use a printed phone book?
(Please say where you're from!)