Sunday, May 20, 2007

Phone Books


It seems that just about every week there is a new phone book lands in my driveway in a plastic bag. There is Dex, My Little Phone Book, The Yellow Book. Enough with the phone books already! There must be big money in publishing these things. I wonder how businesses can afford to be in all these books.

Maybe you phone book publishers should make them available only to those who request them. Send me a card in the mail and if I want your book I’ll reply. It’s just sad to see the natural resources that go into publishing just one edition.

Hint, I get all the numbers I need on-line.

16 Comments:

Blogger Donna said...

I get mine on-line too. And we get the books, even in the boonies. Some advertising ploy, best I can tell.

8:11 AM  
Blogger Auntie said...

I am sitting here looking at 4 of them. Seems like I just culled out all but one just 2 weeks ago.

And, I rarely use them. If I give up my phone service will they stop coming? Maybe when I move they will.

8:28 AM  
Blogger Jaggy said...

Call me old-school, but I use a phone book more often for local stuff. We only have two publishers tossing their white and yellow pages at us here, and the books are different enough that it makes sense to keep them both. If I'm searching for a product though, I'll go online...

8:30 AM  
Blogger Hahn at Home said...

Yet, if you want one you don't normally get, you have to pay some ungodly amount for it--like $35.

My mom lives out in the country and needs tons of different phone books for all the surrounding little towns who don't bother to consolidate because they all have different small town utility phone companies...it costs her a fortune in phone book fees. It's just wrong. Wrong I say.

11:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Definitely some major advertising dollars wrapped up in those books. Say you start a business selling souvenirs and sunglasses. The souvenirs would get a free listing in the yellow pages but if you wanted in the sunglasses section too, that'd cost you $50 a month. Of course if you want something bigger than just a listing, a little ad say, its way more every month. Then you multiply that by the number of phone books in your area. Where I live it's three, and you are talking some serious $$$ each month. Almost put me out of biz my first couple years. Now I have a good customer base just take the free main listing even though I could use about four more for all the sub sets of goods and services we do. I keep one copy of all the books I get because they offer slightly different regional coverage and some have other handy features like maps and reverse directory (way to look up someones name from the number). I keep one of the small ones in my car under the seat. Somewhere I have a collection of old Astoria phone books from the 50's. They are really cool.

11:28 AM  
Anonymous tom said...

Actually, there is HUGE money in making phone books. They are also the only thing keeping a good number of places in business.

They are one of the last revenue streams for small publishers that used to print alternative newspapers and advertising supplements. Some small local papers have gotten into the act as well.

Thanks to digital prepress, they are cheap to produce (usually you can do this with only 2-3 people) and most of the sales staff work on a commission only arraignment.

Lower printing and binding costs help as well.

As a result, these books typically offer ad pricing well below the local phone companies, letting smaller companies try out phone book advertising.

Plus, they work. Typically, even a cheaply produced phone book will generate more sales-per-dollar than newspaper advertisements. People open the phone book looking for something.

So, they aren’t going away. My money is on seeing even more of them- the Daily A will probably be next.

2:39 PM  
Blogger Mike S said...

Geez, I feel deprived. We only get the official little skinny phone company book and a big one from the "dreaded city". We actually use them occasionally. Think we get one of each about every 2 years. Mine are pretty worn out, so this must be the year we get them:)

11:11 PM  
Blogger Mom of Three said...

I couldn't agree more. When I look at the waste from phone books and from junk mail, it makes my heart hurt. I never use them at home, I use the Internet. But I do keep one in my car because I refuse to pay those high fees for cell 411. Other than that, it's just sad.

1:27 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

It is interesting how some see them as a service and others see them as an annoyance. I just feel like there is a property violation when I see a yellow book wrapped in a plastic bag laying in my driveway like a big plastic turd. I liken it to a billboard, ugly and unnecessary.

5:52 AM  
Blogger Mike S said...

For the price of listening to a short audio ad you can get free 411 service from land line and cell phones(still use minutes) at 1-800-373-3411. I think they may even be faster than the phone company, even with the short ad:)

12:59 PM  
Blogger Amaya said...

I think phone books are such a waste. Think of all those trees! I would definitely back up a proposition to order phone books on request only.

1:54 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

My point exactly, Amaya. Did you wave to me when you entered Oregon last week?

2:33 PM  
Anonymous Armil@phone companies said...

Actually it is a little bit annoying already. But still I keep them, maybe there will be a reason for me to used it someday. Thanks for sharing!

11:19 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Some communities are out-lawing them. I hope it spreads across the nation

7:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is only One phonebok I use and that's My Little Phonebook....
It is the only local book on the coast, it is easy to read and it covers a huge area (distribution).
It also uses recycled paper and just for your information most paper comes form tree farms, which be the way emplyee people.
It appears to me that many of you don't have the facts correct and would put more people out of work be trying to ourlaw a service/product that many people utilize, quite communist thinking I might say...

6:34 PM  
Blogger Guy said...

Are you kidding? My little phone book is the worst. I've had people tell me they couldn't get a mistakes in the book corrected. It's like they open once a year to sell ads and then it's over. So by your logic the fact that you own a refrigerator is the reason the people who sell ice are out of business and think of the horse shoer you put out of business because you drive a car. My little Phone Book does not list cell numbers, so face it, it's pretty useless and wasteful of resources.

4:58 AM  

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