The End Of The Phone Book Is Near
Earlier this year in May, Verizon requested New York regulators to stop delivering residential White Pages books to all customers of New York. Whether NY’s regulators approved this request or not is indeterminate at this point, but chances are it will get the go-ahead.
In that same article, AT&T has already received approval to stop delivering residential White Pages books in certain states – one of which is Florida where PCMech is based. Bear in mind that’s only for AT&T customers. Verizon Florida customers still get the books.
Before continuing, remember that White Pages are for residential and not business (yellow) listings. Verizon as far as I’m aware did not request the business phone book to go away. Just the residential.
When would one need a phone book to look up someone’s number?
I know of no one that uses the phone book to look up residential phone or address information. If it’s to look up business listings or a local government office, yes, that’s a legitimately good purpose for the book – but that’s not the White Pages.
If you want to look up someone’s number, you go to the Internet first and always. It can be said without any doubt the only people who don’t do that are those that don’t know how to use a computer – and those people are dwindling in number rapidly.
My personal experience with Verizon’s phone books
In the 813 Tampa area code, Verizon sends two books. One white, one yellow. They look like this when stacked on top of each other:
Compared to other areas of the US, these are thin. I know this because I’ve seen books from other regions that resemble tomes in their thickness.
Even so, neither of these books will fit easily in a mailbox, and they’re guaranteed not to fit in most unit-style postal box.
It is a common occurrence in Florida to see these things stacked two-foot high in their plastic bags on the top of residential apartment complex mailbox units when delivered each year. Were it not for the plastic bags these come in, they would be absolutely destroyed by Mother Nature. A few Florida rainstorms would wreck them in short order.
After a month or so these books are finally thrown out.
Does anybody take these? A few, but not many. I may actually keep a set or two just for the sake of collection. I can definitely envision someone seeing a phone book on my shelf in the future and saying, “WOW! I haven’t seen a phone book in YEARS! Can I look at it?” You watch, it will happen.
What can you do with old phone books?
Besides using them as a support for a wobby table leg or an oversized paperweight, they’re worth money.
Ones that command higher prices are editions before the introduction of the newer overlays. For example, if you have a Massachusetts phone book that was just 617, 508 or 413 only, that’s worth something to a few collectors.
Others that command a better price are the editions prior to them becoming absolutely plastered with advertisements everywhere.
You may not get a lot of money for those old books, but hey, better to make a few bucks than just throwing them out.
Also remember that once something that was in wide circulation goes out of print, it’s officially a collector’s item at that point. If you happen to live in an area where the phone book is out of print at this point and still have the last edition, hang on to it. It may not be worth much now, but will in the future.
How are phone books treated where you live? Post a comment or two describing what happens to them.