Phone books are surprisingly a still viable business...even if you've never used one yourself

Phone books still popular
Posted at 2:38 PM, Sep 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-19 20:20:44-04

Like leaves falling from the autumn trees, phone books are plopping down next to mailboxes all over the valley.
But who uses them?
After all, every business has a number on the internet, right?
It turns out there's still money to be made from those who let their fingers do the walking.
Quinn Bahm of Impact Directories says it depends on the generation, and lots of newer generations don't even know what a phone book is.
Once the indispensable directory, it's now hopelessly outdated by the internet.

"10 years ago, we thought how much longer can this last?" says Bahm.
The books keep showing up next to mailboxes across the valley.
Some 200 thousand, in fact, for Ada County.

"And here we are ten years later wondering how much longer can this last?"
It turns out baby boomers use the books a lot. And baby boomers are good business.

"They have more disposable income than any other demographic in the u.S."
Spread out over several states; Impact Directories distributes about 800 thousand phone books a year.
The coupons and large print are a big draw for the bi-focal set
Meanwhile, the rest of us are left to figure out what to do with a book the size of war and peace.
Bahm says some of the favorites are to prop up monitors, to sit on or as a doorstop.
But the strangest use he's ever heard of is emergency toilet paper.

Of course, you can always recycle the 770 pages.  Most of it is business numbers because not many people have a landline anymore.
If you don't want a book, you can just phone Impact Directories and tell them.

They'll be happy to give your book to someone who can really use it.
Impact gives many businesses a second trackable number that's only found in the phone book.
Those numbers along with the used coupons make it clear that phone books are still a profitable business.