Why are phone books still being made, and how can you stop getting them?

Why are phone books still being made, and how can you stop getting them?

PITTSBURGH — Why do we still get phone books in 2019?

Channel 11 News viewers sent us videos of their tweens and teens trying to navigate the lost art of the yellow pages. And yet, the books still show up at thousands of western Pennsylvania homes every year.

"It was out front. It was just lying in our driveway," Kenny Morgan, of Zelienople, said. "Unsolicited, didn't ask for it."

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Morgan is 29 and lives with his wife and two sons, and they couldn’t figure out why it came.

It's a common question in 2019, so Channel 11’s Katherine Amenta Skyped with one of the country's largest phone book publishers in the country, Thryv.

Senior marketing manager Griselle Sanchez said not every home gets phone books like in years past.

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Instead, it's now based on two main factors: If you ever found a business in the yellow pages, that business may have you on a list. And key demographics, such as people 55 and older, or whether publishers think your home or neighborhood may have a need for renovations.

"On a street, maybe five homes out of the 10 might get a directory," Sanchez said.

So, now we know "the why," but what about "the how"?

Sanchez said they hire local contractors at certain times of year to make deliveries. She said to remember that in times of natural disasters, such as hurricanes and floods, a phone book may be all you have.


"The WiFi is not working," explained Sanchez. "I can't look up the roofer to help repair my roof ... that's when our books are used the most."

As for the future, Sanchez admits, there will come a time when phone books are obsolete. But she says don't count out Morgan's son's generation just yet.

Thryv also said you can opt out of getting phone books by calling the number on the front cover.

And one more note: Say you're a young couple that just bought a home from an older couple. You might be getting their phone book.