The NY Times recently reported that Verizon wants to get rid of phone books in New York:
The company estimates that it would save nearly 5,000 tons of paper by ending the automatic distribution of the books. Only about one of every nine households uses the hard-copy listings anymore, according to Verizon, which cited a 2008 Gallup survey…. Verizon has a similar request before regulators in New Jersey, Mr. Bonomo said. In some states, including Florida, Ohio, Oklahoma and Georgia, AT&T has already received approval to stop delivering White Pages to all residents.
Back in ’08 I wrote in Slate on the seemingly endless death throes of the phone book. But now, at last, it really is passing into history — and there is the inevitable web site for phone book collectors. Incredibly, their very existence was once something of an act of rebellion:
We started a club for telephone book collectors, with a membership of two. We called it the Organization of Universal Telephone Book Amalgamated Collectors, or OUTBAC. We started publishing a newsletter called the Joutbac, or Journal of the OUTBAC. In my dusty files, I have the four yearly issues from 1964 to 1967. In 1965, we tried to locate other collectors by submitting a small advertisement to Hobbies magazine. The ad was rejected. The advertising department notified us that in Illinois, where Hobbies was published, the telephone directories remain the property of the telephone company. They wanted to avoid any legal complications.