CON: Phone books still prevalent in rural areas, for elderly

Aug. 22, 2011 at 3:22 a.m.

Frances Gamblin knows she's not the only one who needs the phone book - the poor and elderly need it as well.

Yet, some large metropolitan cities across the U.S. are slowly seeing phone books become more obsolete.

For Gamblin, solving the unused phone book problem is simple.

"If you don't want it, then call the phone book company, and tell them you don't want it delivered," the Victoria resident said. "Let those that want it and use it keep it."

But rural areas, such as the Crossroads area, are still dependent on phone books, said Danny Bills, owner and publisher of The Red Book phone book directory.

Surveys have been done in some areas across Texas that support how much more rural area homeowners cling to their phone books.

In big cities like Houston and Dallas, Yellow Pages' use is less than 50 percent, while in areas like Lubbock, which is just shy of about 250,000 and has smaller rural cities surrounding it, Yellow Pages usage is at about 80 percent.

"I think they're going to be around for a while," Bills said. "A lot of people still use them."

Gamblin agrees.

Though the age of smart phones is clearly on the rise, many elderly and poor people still rely on the classic free directory that hits their doorstep once a year.

The poor cannot always afford Internet or smart phone technology and the most elderly fall through the generational and technological gap.

Gamblin still uses her phone book to look up doctors and their locations. She also uses it during Christmas time to locate friends so she can send them Christmas cards.

"Have a heart and love our elderly. They need the phone books," she said. "Bless their hearts, and one day I will be in their shoes also."



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