Why do we still have the phone book? Learn 6 Problems with Phone Books

phone books littering the yard

What to do with these?

We just got our 2011-2012 Lake Mills, Wisconsin Phone Book here at Atlas Signs and Plaques and we have to wonder, why? Why do we still have the phone book? There are at least 6 problems with phone books.


First problem: How do you deliver it? You can’t leave it in the mailbox, that’s a federal offense. No, seriously, it’s a federal offense to put anything in a mailbox that isn’t official mail. So if you’ve been leaf-letting, make sure you don’t put them in the mailbox.

Second problem: It’s arguably littering. When you deliver a phone book, unless you get permission to leave it on a porch or driveway, it could be considered littering. You’re leaving something behind that is unwanted.

Third problem: Why? As the people who are reading this well know, there’s this thing called the Internet. All joking aside, more than 55% of businesses have a website and the 45% that don’t must be seriously looking at one or are making a stand against it, like the businesses that didn’t get phones.

Fourth problem: Paper. An average phone book is more than 1000 pages, which is a heck of a lot of paper. The worst part is that the phone book is printed annually(maybe biannually). That means for Lake Mills, a town of 5000 people, the phone company has to print more than 5 million pages of paper.

Fifth problem: Time. As mentioned above, the phone book is either annual or biannual, but in that time businesses change. Let’s say a business leaves town. Well, their phone number will be disconnected and won’t be useful for that business. Now the phone book is outdated and needs to be replaced. But the vast majority of the book is the same. Again, the internet is instantly changeable. Problem solved.

Sixth problem: Cell phones. Cell phones aren’t listed in the phone book at all. I don’t have a land line whatsoever and that’s a conscious choice. A cell phone can do everything that a land line does and is just as easy to use. In addition, you can save numbers in the phone, further negating the need for a phone book.

I will admit that there are some problems with using the Internet. Getting a decent connection, paying for the service, not having it at home, having dial-up, poorly designed websites. But those problems are problems that have to be fixed anyway. Let’s use the money that we’ll save from not printing phone books and use it more wisely.

Love This? Go Tell it on a Mountain!