The Death Of The Phone Book

The internet has been killing the phone book for many years and the release of the iPhone in 2007 was the coup de grâce. By 2009 most people had the internet and a large number of people had iPhones or some other “smartphone”. Starting in 2009 phone books should have only been available by request and possibly for a small fee. San Francisco is always rated the first or second greenest city in the US and one of the top 10 greenest in the world. San Francisco is also the birthplace of Earth Day. Nearby Berkeley and Oakland are also among the top 10 greenest cities in the US. Few people want and use phone books in 2012 but even in San Francisco phone books are still being printed and delivered to every residence with multiple copies being provided to businesses. If an apartment building has forty units they deliver forty phone books and only two or three people will take one. The remaining phone books sit in entryways and lobbies, sometimes for months, or they litter the sidewalks and streets.

April 08 2012 San Francisco – I gathered these phone books and free newspapers from six small apartment buildings in this half block area – the phone books were delivered weeks ago

San Francisco please stop this environmental waste and lead the way and make it illegal to distribute handbills / door hangers, phone books, free newspapers and free magazines. Make them only available by request and subscription.

January 28 2012 San Francisco

December 23 2010 San Francisco

Work every day of your life to right what is wrong.

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9 Responses to The Death Of The Phone Book

  1. Although I generally agree with you, let’s not forget there are still people in this country who do not have access to the internet at home. Phone books have always (as far as I know) been available for free. If we get rid of the phone book, what about the people who don’t have the internet and/or poor.

    • Ryan Moore says:

      That’s why I’m advocating that phone books be available by request.

      • That doesn’t work either. You are asking poor people, the elderly and people who don’t have the internet to now ask for them. This is often an additional burden. I agree with you that we need a solution but it has to be one that does not put people at a disadvantage.

        • Ryan Moore says:

          It’s not going to hurt poor, elderly or handicapped people to have to request that a phone book be delivered to them and no one is going to die without a phone book.

  2. BTW We can all opt out of the phone book by telling the phone company that we don’t want it.

    • Ryan Moore says:

      No for apartment buildings they deliver a phone book for every unit regardless of whether or not the resident has a landline phone or not.

  3. This is still problematic, particularly the letting-people-know-about-it part. A lot of seniors, in particular, will wonder why they haven’t got their new phone book and not know where to call. People in rural and other areas with poor internet access; people who don’t use computers, people who don’t have computers. I think opt-in is the way to go, but there needs to be a lot of sensitivity to those who will be impacted by the loss of the books simply not showing up. That’s a larger group than most of us may realize.

    • Ryan Moore says:

      You make a good point but it would be easy to have a big announcement on the last phone book that is automatically delivered with simple instructions so they can opt-in to continue receiving phone books. I think everyone will be okay and it won’t hurt anything for them to have to use the Summer 2012 phone book even though it’s the Fall of 2012. Most people that aren’t able to function fully get assistance from a family member or they’re in assisted living. I’ve seen it happen several times a year, for the last few years, that 40 phone books are delivered and only 2 or 3 get taken – that’s a tremendous waste to accommodate those 2 or 3 people.

  4. Hey our comments are over lapping. My last comment was for your second to last comment :D

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