We are witnessing still another change in our world that is caused by technology. The local telephone company's white pages will probably disappear soon.
In fact, the white pages already disappeared in Indiana a couple of years ago. Verizon has secured permission from New York, Pennsylvania, and Florida to stop mass distribution as well, and it's currently making the same case to Virginia regulators. Most companies are expected to soon follow the same path: petition the lawmakers to make telephone books optional. (I didn't know they needed permission!)
According to Verizon, people have shifted their phone lookups to the Internet. Besides, "the annual printing and distribution of such directories imposes environmental costs in terms of tons of paper used and energy consumed in printing, binding, and distributing the directories." It also costs money to print, and unlike the yellow pages, residents don't pay for inclusion in the white pages.
Instead, Verizon would keep its listings online for no charge and would deliver white pages to any household that requests them. Yellow pages and their included government directories will continue to be printed.
Does anyone care about white pages anymore? I find the phone books to be less and less useful. Most of my friends and relatives have moved to unlisted numbers to escape telemarketers or to cell phones and a few of them even use computer VoIP phones. None of these are listed in the white pages. When I need a telephone number, I look online first.
I admit I haven't used the white pages or the yellow pages in years. The last time we received new telephone books, I stuffed them in a drawer, and I don't think they have been touched since.
It strikes me that these books are just a waste of trees. I suppose they do need to keep printing a few phone books for the 23 percent of all US households where no one in the home uses the Internet; but, the other 77 percent of us don't need printed directories. What's more, that 23 percent continues to drop every year.
Another effort underway to stop the home delivery of local yellow pages may be found at http://www.yellowpagesgoesgreen.org/
Of course, it may be a problem for future genealogists who will have to deal with no city directories, no phone books, and minimal census data.
I might keep and use the white pages if they were delivered to me as a PDF file. Then again, if it is online it is probably more current. We might just say, "It's a wired, wired world."