Does anybody actually still use paper phone books anymore?

Real Estate Agent with Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc. BK627826

A friend of mine stopped by the office the other day and saw the stacks of phone books delivered to all the doors in my office building.  He asked me the question above.  "Does anybody actually still use paper phone books anymore?" 

I admitted to him that I still keep a set of white pages and yellow pages in my office just in case I ever need them.  Maybe 2 or 3 times a year I actually crack them open to try and find something. 

After all, with the growth of the internet, it is so much easier to simply search online for the person or business you are looking for.  On top of that most people are much easier reached on their cell phone than they are on a home phone number anyway.  About 6 months ago, I took the plunge and canceled my home phone line altogether.  Why pay for it if I'm hardly even using it??


All that being said, it frustrates me to no end to see all the phone book companies still piling up phone books on everyone.  Can't there be some sort of opt-out for these?  Our office building has probably 40 offices in it.  My phone company (Embarq) delivers a white page, a yellow page, and a little "convenient" combination book to every single office door.  Then a few weeks later AT&T stops by and delivers 3 more books.  Then Verizon stops by and brings more.  This past weekend somebody else brought me 3 Seminole County special directories.  ENOUGH ALREADY!!!

I keep the main 2 from my local company Embarq, but the other 7 or so books go straight into the recycling bin.  I am sure the other 40 office tenants probably just throw theirs right in the trash.  Now multiply that by 4 other office buildings in my complex, plus the fact that they deliver another 6 or so books to my house every year.  Ugggh! 

Honestly, this waste of good trees needs to stop.  Hardly anyone I know even uses these phone books.  If it were up to me, these phone companies would get massive fines for this callous disregard for the environment.  To me, all they are doing is littering.  OK.  End of my rant! Everybody go out and hug a tree.  



(Copyright © 2009. Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc. All rights reserved.)   Subscribe to my blog via RSS feed.

Rob Arnold - Your full service and investor friendly Realtor ® in Orlando and Central Florida.

ABR, CPL, CRB, CSP, GRI, Managing real estate broker, Notary Public

407-389-7318 / 1-877-389-7318   We Buy Houses Florida

We sell foreclosures, short sales, and bank owned REO properties throughout Central Florida. We sell and list Central Florida real estate and Orlando real estate. Free list of foreclosure and short sale houses available.

I also provide flat fee MLS listings, For Sale By Owner, and menu-based services in most parts of Central & South Florida, the Space Coast, and the Treasure Coast including Orlando, Winter Park, Maitland, Ocoee, Winter Garden, Apopka, Altamonte Springs, Casselberry, Longwood, Winter Springs, Oviedo, Lake Mary, Sanford, Deltona, Debary, Deland, Mount Dora, Eustis, Clermont, Kissimmee, Winter Haven, Lakeland, Tampa, Sarasota, Bradenton, Miami-Dade, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Port Saint Lucie, Melbourne, Daytona Beach, Ocala, Gainesville, Volusia, Brevard, and more.   


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Charles Stallions
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services - Pensacola, FL
800-309-3414 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl.

Your post got me to thinking and I ask everyone here if they had one to bring it to my office. My secretary told me I stop taking them three years ago except she gets one for herself. I remember now three years ago I started recycling and them books got me started, what a waste.

Jan 16, 2009 10:08 AM #4
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

The majority of information for vendors on the Internet are companies that have web sites or who subscribe to web site. 

Many good local merchants do not yet have an Interent presence. 

The Yellow Pages still come in handy for me, once or twice a year.


Jan 16, 2009 10:08 AM #5
Sherie Earley-Womack
Choice Real Estate - Monterey, TN

I actually used one today but do not normally

Jan 16, 2009 10:16 AM #6
Thomas Tolbert
Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate Legacy - Savannah, GA

I just got mine and threw them away...... just didn't need the extra clutter.

Jan 16, 2009 10:20 AM #7
Tom Larsen
The Larsen Protection Team - Williamsville, NY
We Shop, You Save!

I agree, Rob. But they push and sell display ads to companies that still pull business from the ads. So I think to them, they owe it to their advertisers. But I am on your side of the fence.


Tom Larsen

Jan 16, 2009 10:31 AM #8
x Bye Bye
x - Bay Minette, AL
Delete Account

Rob - Here is an idea:

Phonebook Christmas Tree

Turn those old phonebooks into Christmas Trees

Phonebook Christmas Tree

If you have phonebooks piling up around the house, consider the following project. It is an easy way for a youngster or adult to transform an obsolete phone book into a Christmas tree centerpiece.
Materials Needed:
Thick phonebook
Spray paint (gold or any desired color)
White glue
Beads, buttons or any small shiny ornaments

1. Fold each page of the phone book as show in the above photograph.
2. Repeat with each page.
3. When all pages have been turned down in such a manner, bring the outside of the back cover and front cover together, and staple together, forming a "tree".
4. Have an adult spray paint the exterior of the tree and allow to dry.
5. Using the white glue, decorate the outside of the paper tree.


Jan 16, 2009 11:49 AM #9
Bob & Carolin Benjamin
Benjamin Realty LLC - Gold Canyon, AZ
East Phoenix Arizona Homes

The is little reason for having a paper phone book these days. And even less reason to advertise in one.

Jan 16, 2009 01:34 PM #10
Elizabeth Bolton
RE/MAX Destiny Real Estate Cambridge, MA - Cambridge, MA
Cambridge MA Realtor

Yes. Yes. Yes. Count my vote for phonebooks. 

I think the yellow pages in particular do a much better job than the internet for a variety of things I'm trying to find. If I'm looking for a hotel or a particular type of store that might carry a certain thing the web can be a total frustration.  The sites that come up in the search engines are not helpful and in the end the yellow pages are a *much* more efficient way to find what I want. 

I do tend to look for residential numbers online but all in all having a non-electric paper source as a backup is not a bad thing as far as I'm concerned.

One good use for the white pages is to keep one in the car (under the seat so it doesn't fly through the air and conk you in the head in an accident). The 411 charges on my cell phone are an atrocity.


Jan 16, 2009 01:50 PM #11
Hugh Krone
Weichert Referral Associates - Hamburg, NJ
Realtor, Sussex County NJ

Rob ~They are great for swatting flies

Jan 16, 2009 01:59 PM #12
Diane Lynch
Realty Executives Premiere - Warrenville, IL
Real Estate Broker


I actually keep a set of phone books, don't know why. I never use them. Just can't seem to part with them! I used to make the Christmas trees that Brian describes above! I too canceled my land phone line to save the money from a line that only brought telemarketers. It's liberating!

Jan 16, 2009 02:22 PM #13
Jim Frimmer
HomeSmart Realty West - San Diego, CA
Realtor & CDPE, Mission Valley specialist

I haven't used a phone book in about ten years now. Unfortunately, San Diego County has about fifty sets of white pages and yellow pages: North County, East County, South Bay, Metro San Diego, and Coastal. There are five different companies creating them. Unfortunately, they get distribute everywhere. I always recycle mine, but I wait until all 50 arrive. They start coming in April and the last ones arrive around August.

Jan 16, 2009 05:34 PM #14
Mike Saunders
Lanier Partners - Athens, GA

Rob - of course I still use paper phone books, for local services they are o0ften much better than the internet. But I do get a bit perturbed at multiple copies of the same book being delivered.

Jan 16, 2009 11:34 PM #15
Lisa Spalding
Casa Latino Four Corners, REALTOR, CDPE - Longwood, FL
Jan 17, 2009 01:29 AM #16
Broker Nick
South Florida Real Estate & Development, Inc. - Coconut Creek, FL
Broker Nick Relocation Broker Service

I don't use paper phone books. I don't know why they are still around.

Jan 17, 2009 01:34 AM #17
COMPASS - Palm Springs, CA
COMPASS Palm Springs - Broker Associate

I wonder how many trees would be saved if phonebooks weren't printed any more?

I haven't used either the white or yellow pages in over 8 years!

Jan 17, 2009 02:27 AM #18
Brian Griffis
Realty Choice - Springfield, MO

You might be surprised. The younger generation uses computers for everything, but I have been amazed at how many people, particularly in older generations, do not even HAVE computers.  It really blows my mind sometimes.  I bought my mom a computer and it has become the worlds largest paper weight. She even canceled her internet because she just didn't use it. I imagine phone books will disappear some day, but not for many years. 

Jan 17, 2009 04:12 AM #19
Rob Arnold
Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc. - Altamonte Springs, FL
Metro Orlando Full Service - Investor Friendly & F

Lenn - No doubt some people still use the phone book.  I still keep copies in my office, but having 4 different phone companies deliver a stack of books to both my house and my office just seems like a giant waste.

Brian C - I love the Christmas tree.  That's an awesome idea.

Lisa - Thanks for the Opt-Out link.  I just signed up for it. 

Brian G - My beef isn't so much with my local company delivering a book every year.  My beef is that 3 other phone companies also deliver me their books.  I'm not a library people aren't checking phone books out of my realty office.

Jan 17, 2009 07:38 AM #20
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

I like to carry one in the back of my car, and use it on occassion.  At the office I use it too.  But we now have far too many versions that are redundant.

Jan 17, 2009 04:08 PM #21
Terry Haugen STAGE it RIGHT! 321-956-2495
Stage it Right! - Melbourne, FL

Rob, I hate all those phone books that are left at my door, what a waste of trees.  All but the big one go straight into the recycling bin.  I do still use a phone book instead of the internet, its faster and easier.

Jan 18, 2009 10:09 AM #22
Tchaka Owen
Galleria International Realty - Hollywood, FL

LOL!!  Rob, your pic on the left is could have been taken in my TH in Virginia.  I had them stacked like that.  Now that I'm in Florida I quickly put them into the recycling bin.  I wish they'd save our resources and NOT print them!!

Jan 18, 2009 05:41 PM #23
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