Now, a breath of fresh air: The New York Times reports that Verizon wants to pull the plug on white pages for New York City in a move that would save 5,000 tons of paper annually. According to the article, an astonishing 1 in 9 New Yorkers actually do, in fact, still use the white pages. But with Verizon’s proposal, they’d still be able to get one by request. Cutting a cost that’s also a nuisance for 8 out of 9 people is just good business.
However, as is evident every year, the advertiser fueled yellow pages are a far more profitable business. Searching around online hasn’t yielded much good data on how many people continue to use yellow pages, but clearly advertisers and yellow page distributors remain convinced that it’s something higher than 1 in 9, otherwise they would have streamlined their distribution. Wouldn’t they? One look at the dozens of abandoned tomes in my foyer and you’d argue that advertisers have been duped. But perhaps I’m wrong again.
So here’s a reader project: Can anyone find more reliable polling data that shows how many Americans (or any other country for that matter) actually use phone books? For starters, here’s a poll for you. Please leave a comment if you know of better data or how to get it.