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Farewell phone books? Residential white pages fading out

By Melissa Bell
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Emily Goodmann is a doctoral student who is doing her dissertation on the history of the telephone book at Northwestern University. (Charles Rex Arbogast/AP)

The clunky doorstops of countless generations has met its fate online: the paper phone book has been replaced by Internet directories and cell phone memory banks. Regulators are approving the phone companies' plan to stop making phone books.

New York, Florida and Pennsylvania already have given the green light to Verizon Communications Inc.'s request to quit distributing residential white pages. Virginia may be next.

"The first telephone directory was issued in February 1878 -- a single page that covered 50 customers in New Haven, Conn," the Associated Press reports. "That sheet grew into a book that became virtually a household appliance, listing numbers for neighbors, friends and colleagues, not to mention countless potential victims of prank calls."

It may be a totally useless product, one I haven't used in years, but there still is a nostalgic pull. So much for random flipping through the book, finding the craziest names possible. So marches on progress.

Here's a quick tutorial on what to do with your old phone books:

By Melissa Bell  | November 11, 2010; 8:31 AM ET
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Comments

And for those who don't have access to the Internet or own a cell phone????? The tradeoff is simple, telecom companies — you can ditch the phone books if you make information request calls free.

Posted by: BobTatFORE | November 12, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

And for those who don't have access to the Internet or own a cell phone????? The tradeoff is simple, telecom companies — you can ditch the phone books if you make information request calls free.

Posted by: BobTatFORE | November 12, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

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