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Zombies on my doorstep: End the phone book spam

phonebook 2I came home to find the walking dead waiting on my doorstep: phone books.

Nobody asked for them. They just print them up and hand them out.

615 million phone books are printed every year. This is a filthy waste of resources: printing, delivery, landfill.

Let’s end this already.

At the very least, phone books should only be given to people who request them. MN, WA, and HI are making it illegal to litter a city with hundreds of thousands of unrequested books. A proposed bill in CA to do the same was defeated by lobbyists from the Yellow Pages industry association.

Phone books are spam. Get involved.

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  1. Rachel Baker July 25, 2010 at 7:20 pm #

    I could not agree more. I find the forced distribution of phonebooks to be so wasteful. There are 10 placed outside my building twice a year in Chicago.

  2. Sara Blum July 26, 2010 at 10:05 am #

    Although I agree wholeheartedly from my perspective, let’s not forget to include the non-computer literate in our phone book delivery system ensuring folks like my mother still get theirs just like they always have. To put it crudely, she’s a dying breed, but a breed nonetheless!

  3. Dawn July 27, 2010 at 5:09 pm #

    *Disclaimer- I currently work in the YP industry*

    I definitely agree in certain markets that the print yellow pages is a dying breed- but the facts are there that in many communities, the propensity to reach for a phone book first still exists. It’s also still very much heading specific. Looking at, for example, the Restaurant category- I can remember 5 years ago there being pages upon pages of display advertising with menus, and sub-categories based on type of cuisine. Now it’s pretty much straight listings only as the rise of social media- urban spoon, yelp, citysearch…has helped folks make a dining decision.

    The YP industry, I believe, would be well served to evolve and reduce the number of directories they put out in a certain area- in many larger communities, not only are you dealing with the telco’s main book, but also several neighborhood/metro ones as well (Chicago is a perfect example of this). Not to mention all of the independent (YellowBook, etc) publishers that somehow manage to sell enough adspace to make it financially feasible to distribute their own versions. Of course, who in their right mind is going to just stop putting out a book that they feel is working? Not to mention the old ‘competition is good’ argument if the non-utility publishers were somehow NOT allowed to issue their own book.

    I can get rambly, but I always like to pipe in and say that while it’s clear that the world is evolving, print is not dead yet…not everywhere for every buying decision. I use myself as a perfect example. While I definitely rely and use internet search and wom to make most of my decisions, I will still on occasion reference the yellow pages here in Austin- particularly for service related needs. And I’m apparently not the demo that still uses print- 33, active, living in Austin.

  4. Charity Woosley August 3, 2010 at 9:06 pm #

    If you *must* have a print copy of the Yellow Pages (my grandma), then you should be able to call and request one…but for the love of all things good, don’t dump them all over my doorstep.

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