Do We Really Still Need the White Pages? Well, No

When was the last time you opened up a phone book and found someone’s number?  To many people, this is a throw-back, an anachronism. To Verizon, it’s a big old waste of millions of dollars and something they’re trying to avoid delivering to everyone in New York City with a phone.  The company is following AT&T’s lead by petitioning the state to allow them to stop having to deliver the white page telephone books this year.

A story in the NY Times describes a doorman at a 320-unit apartment building. He kept 20 copies of the massive New York City white pages in a stack for any residents who asked for them. None did.  He couldn’t give them away but like the phone company he was stuck with the big stack of paper. Verizon said he would save  a staggering 5000 tons of paper by not printing the books this year.

In North Carolina, when AT&T tried to cut down on white pages delivery they ran into a buzz saw of older folks, who complained that some people might lose contact with friends and neighbors without the printed books. But in most other markets people have survived without them.