Social Question

deni's avatar

Why in the world are phone books still distributed?

Asked by deni (22853points) January 26th, 2012

There is absolutely no use for them. I would be shocked if one person on Fluther has used one in the past 5 years. They are just unnecessary. And what a waste of paper! Am I wrong? Holy shit. I could not believe it when one showed up on my door step today. Do you foresee them stopping phone books anytime in the near future? Obviously it should have happened 10 years ago but didn’t for whatever reason…

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23 Answers

Berserker's avatar

Contrary to popular belief, not everyone has the Internet. Phone books are still widely used and convenient.

chyna's avatar

Mine go straight to the garbage bin. We don’t have recycling bins here or I would just drop them in the recycle bin.

deni's avatar

@Symbeline It stlill doesn’t make sense to do something for everyone that only applies to .000001% of the population. Especially in the sense of how wasteful it is.

Aethelflaed's avatar

You know, you can cancel your copy permanently. There are instructions for doing so on the phone book cover.

I use mine to get my stationary bike properly aligned.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I deal with a lot of people that don’t use the net. I still use the phonebook.

rebbel's avatar

For children they might be nice books; they can search for people with weird surnames.
I remember I did that when I was young.

CWOTUS's avatar

Really, only .000001%? 1 person in ten million uses the phone book? I suggest that the usage is somewhat higher, your assertion notwithstanding.

Berserker's avatar

@deni Yeah, it is a waste of paper, I agree. But McDonald’s is a waste of cows, and I’d worry about all the cars that pollute the air too, in that case. I also think that your .000001% thing probably needs to be reworked. Seriously man, there are a lot of people out there without access to the net, or who are not interested in it.

jca's avatar

Publishers of the books sell advertising to the various businesses that pay for space: Dentists, accountants, plumbers, moving companies, etc. all pay for that advertising. So that is profitable for the publishers, and they distribute the books as part of the deal (i.e. “10,000 households will receive your ad via this phone book!”)

Blackberry's avatar

There are still approximately 3.5 million people using AOLs dial up service. Not everyone is living in the age of technology and modernity. But I agree they seem worthless now to most people.

Aethelwine's avatar

We would have been lost without our phone book when we moved to a new community. We moved to a farm house and it took us a long time to find a reliable internet provider. Thanks to the phone book we found our local garbage collector, the telephone number to the local city hall, the local pizza place and countless other numbers that were needed when we moved.

They may seem worthless to most people, but they are still very needed for many. Not every business in our area is found on the internet, but they are found in the telephone book. We live in a very rural area where some businesses don’t even accept credit card for payment. They only accept cash and checks.

DaphneT's avatar

Because somewhere in the world there are still landlines and businesses and people who want to talk to other people. Don’t worry, they are developing phone books for cellphones, just you wait.

Ponderer983's avatar

My Mom gave me one and left a post-it on it that read “This is a phonebook. You use it to look up numbers” I cracked up.

I think they should still be free, but instead they should have an order form. If you want one, say yes, if not, then no. It would seem to be wise in an effort to save trees, but hey what do I know lol.

deni's avatar

I just can’t believe what a waste of paper it is. Just cant get over it. So thats why I’m so shocked they deliver them to everyone, cause (yes my estimate earlier was a bit low) but still only a small fraction I’m sure of Americans even brings theirs in the house before delivering it straight to the garbage can.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

I use the phone book all of the time. You are a bit arrogant assuming that everyone lives like you do.

How sure are you of your last statement?

deni's avatar

@MollyMcGuire Come on. It’s America, not Africa. I realize there are people without internet access or who live totally in the middle of nowhere and use phone books, but it is not the majority of the population, or even close, do you really think otherwise?

augustlan's avatar

I clearly have internet, but I still use the phone book fairly regularly. If I’m not already online when I want a number or address, it’s much quicker to just grab the book. Around here, the size of the Yellow Pages book has been greatly reduced over the last year, in order to save paper. All the ads are smaller, the layout is more efficient, and the book is about half the size it used to be.

I do like the idea of ordering it, though, rather than just having it delivered to so many people who’ll never use it.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

@augustlan Ordering it will not happen. The way Berry, ATT, Dex, or whomever, sell the ads at such exorbitant advertising rates is the promise of how many households to which the book will be delivered. So, the publishers have their own agenda here. You will notice they are stingy about giving out more than one per household.

jca's avatar

@MollyMcGuire: if you want extra phone books, just go to any apartment building lobby. There are usually piles of them there.

JilltheTooth's avatar

I still use the phone book a couple of times a week, it is actually faster and easier than internet look-up, sometimes. They are being phased out somewhat, @deni , be encouraged. I’ll be sad when they’re gone, as I will when all newspapers are gone in favor of online sources.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@deni : Over the last few days I’ve done kind of an informal poll in RL and discovered something…most people my age (mid-fifties) and older still use the phone book. Remember that we boomers are a huge demographic in America, and did not grow up with computers, so even though most of us do, indeed, have Internet, we don’t automatically use it for all the things the younger ones do. Until we pre-techies are phased out as a dominant demographic, many of the old ways will still be around. Not to worry, we’re all gonna die, probably sooner rather than later. ;-)

jca's avatar

@JilltheTooth: Good point. My mom is almost 70 and she still keeps a phone book, even though she does also use the internet.

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