Early this summer we switched from AT&T (formerly SBC formerly Southwestern Bell) to digital phone service from our cable company. Yesterday at&t still delivered the Austin white and yellow pages along with a smaller directory for this part of town.
I was curious if we'd get a phone book. I'm guessing since advertisers pay for the phone books and not subscribers it was in their best interest to put one in our hands.
I'm curious as well about how many people (both Telecom Digest readers, and non-readers) still use a telephone book.
For the past few years, it's been easier for me to just look up the number I need on the Web.
We have a stack of phonebooks (white pages & yellow pages) which have never been opened.
Are the paper phonebook's days numbered ? (no pun intended) I can't believe it still makes sense to publish these things, but I suppose they still make money at it so someone must be buying all the ad space.
I used the local Embarq directory for the first time this year yesterday to look up the number of the local post office. Oddly it wasn't listed, but the town next to me was and called them for the number.
They yellow pages are assembled for insertion into the Embarq phone book by a separate company that charges outrageous rates compared to AT&T. First biz listing is free, but bold is extra. Second listing and in bold in another section is extra for a total of like $60 per month; when a friend of mine has a half page listing for $150 a year ($12.50 per month). I figured it was cheaper to just get an additional phone line at $10 per month for the other listing. Its a profit center for someone.
About twenty years ago, I read where some courthouse packed the old directories around the judge's "pulpit" for bulletproofing.
There must be good money in phone book advertising. I usually receive about 4 different phone books each year. One of them is from BellSouth (I assume it will be from AT&T next year) and has the White Pages for my small local calling area, and a small Yellow Pages section. Another larger one from Bell South covers a larger metropolitan area which is not within my local calling area, and is mostly served by another company which gets sold every couple of years. Another one covers roughly the same area and comes from the company that serves most of that area (currently Windstream). Sometimes I get one from a company that used to serve the area. I also get one or two directories from an independent directory company covering a smaller area.
Now-a-Days we receive numerous "phone books" with advertising pages of varying intensity and depth. Usually my wife scans them for coupons or other interesting stuff and then recycles them. Usually we keep the Dex book - Dex was formerly the Qwest directory which was the former Pacific Northwest Bell directory.
And now that we're swamped with these all these pesky books that cover entire metropolitan areas I remember when the Bell System would almost unleash a pack of wild dogs on you if they thought you had your eye on one of their directories but were not their customer! But that was then. Now those books come from all manner of publisher and are like a plague of locusts!
For those of us with dialup, it's faster to use a book.
The book also has the advantage that if a number becomes unlisted, or a business or government agency changes its name, I can still find it under the old listing. It can't be erased, either accidentally or on purpose.
Which was very helpful, as it was the only way that reporter Robert Caulfield was able to confirm his memory of the otherwise never-existed NASA technician Eliot Whittier, who, shortly before his disappearance, had relayed his suspicians that the Martian landing had been a fake.
[spoiler space] [spoiler space]
The book, and then movie, "Capricorn One". examined the NASA landing on Mars. A technician noted some qurious readings regarding the television transmissions from the spacecraft, mentioned them to his reporter friend, and then completely disappeared - with all records of his ever having existed gone as well.
However, despite the thoroughness of the folk arranging the disappearance, even they weren't able to round up a hundred thousand telephone books.
Oh, the movie has both the best stunt flying (by Telly Savalis!) since Cast A Giant Shadow (Frank Sinatra) and... has OJ Simpson.
hmm, per wiki: "A re-make is currently being planned called Capricorn Two."