A funny thing happened on the way to the office…

This morning I spent a few minutes moving bags filled with obviously unwanted phone books from our building’s entrance way. (See picture below.) As I moved the bags I couldn’t help but ask myself, “Who still uses these books? How much did they cost to print? How many trees were cut down to produce enough books even for just our city of Boston?”

It was odd that eight bags of phone books were delivered to a building that has only two companies. I assumed that they must deliver books based upon the number of phone lines within the building (our small company has four phone lines), and started thinking about how many people in our business neighborhood were moving piles and piles of books just like me.


I write this post because I am really curious to see if anyone reading it uses paper phone books still and/or knows of a coworker, friend, or family member who does as well. If you do know someone who uses one (or, better, still advertises in one), I would hope you could share your comments with us.

– AJ Gerritson @ajgerritson

AJ Gerritson

AJ Gerritson is the Founding Partner at 451 Marketing. Follow him on Twitter @AJGerritson

8 thoughts on “A funny thing happened on the way to the office…

  1. No. Not even remotely. On Sunday a guy came by with SIX bags with a book each – to add to the pile of three books already on the porch of the triple decker I live in. The BF told him not to bother since we were just going to recycle them and he took them back, but now every other house on our block has a fortress of phone books on the porch. BF said he thinks the only reason they print them to still is to make advertising $$ – but seriously, who advertises in the phone book?

    I guess I should pick up one of the 1800 books on my street and find out, huh?

  2. I completely agree. It is such a waste. I get frustrated even receiving them at home. They go from the front porch (after sitting there for a week) to the recycle bin. I wish someone would realize no one uses them, and if they do, it’s like 2% of the population….or restaurants? I don’t know. I do know that too many are printed and so much is wasted. How about going green phone book people? Figure it out.

  3. AJ, I don’t know many people who use phone books for things other than as paperweights. I will occasionally refer to one for a business number, but very rarely.

    As I recall, beginning this year in Kansas City citizens will need to opt in to receive phone books. They will still be listed for free, and any copies requested will be free, but to save resources it will be more of a print-on-demand option than an automatic delivery. I may be wrong, but I think we are one of a few test markets for the concept. In any case, I have a feeling phone books are going the way of rotary phones, landlines, and the need to dial only seven digits.

  4. I thought the same thing on my way in! I haven’t used a phone book in probably ten years. – @cristinalepore

  5. Hey Jennifer, thanks for your comments. I just realized they are probably waiting for me at home too! I cannot believe the waste! -AJ

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