Let Your Fingers Do the Walking Away

Phonebooks, Yellow Pages vanishing from porches

By Bruce Felps
|  Thursday, Jun 2, 2011  |  Updated 10:08 PM CDT
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Phone companies are phasing out white pages, but should the same be done for yellow pages? Some say yes, but businesses rely on the phone books for advertising.

Kristi Nelson, NBCDFW.com

Phone companies are phasing out white pages, but should the same be done for yellow pages? Some say yes, but businesses rely on the phone books for advertising.

Commentary
by Bruce Felps

News flash: Phone companies still publish phonebooks.

The practice, though, looks to be a dying art, well, if it ever was considered an art.

According to a story published today by USA Today, even the phone companies don’t want the big books on their front porches, or most anyone else’s, anymore.

Apparently, though, it’s not as easy as the communications carriers just ceasing publication. First they need state governmental approval. Hunh, speaking of news flashes. Must be a public service thing or something.

AT&T and Verizon have received permission to eliminate residential phonebooks from most states in which they offer landline service. Both expect pending requests in the remaining states they serve to be granted before year’s end.

Yellow Pages are a book of a different color. Those publications contain advertisements, which mean some degree of profits. When San Francisco, by way of the USA Today example, passed an ordinance that banned delivery of the books unless someone requested one, the Yellow Pages industry association sued citing free speech, uh huh, so there’s that side of the issue.

Environmental concerns — each book requires the pulp of 27 full-grown trees, made up research shows — and dwindling use seem to trump the books’ need to exist. But more data is — are? — needed.

For example, what’s a landline?

If you'd like to opt-out of receiving phone books, follow this link.


Bruce Felps owns and operates East Dallas Times, an online community news outlet serving the White Rock Lake area. He does not remember the last time he looked up a phone number in a book-like element. He also doesn’t remember what he had for lunch yesterday.
 

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