There are 540 million directories printed in the United States each year. That’s 1.7 directories per person, assuming just over 300 million people living in the US. There is not one “yellow pages” company, so it’s many companies printing many books.
The average yellow pages book weighs 3.62 pounds. Multiply that by the 540 million directories printed each year and you get 2 BILLION pounds of paper. It takes 24 fully developed trees to make a ton of paper. So you’re looking at 23 million trees each year being cut down to make these books.
The yellow pages industry is a $26 billion annual business, bigger than Google’s $20 billion in revenues for 2008. The yellow pages are profitable and are not dying anytime soon. Most publishers have recycling programs, to quell the environmentalists that protest the waste– but almost none have an opt-out program.
Online advertising programs are cutting into offline revenue. I don’t believe web advertising would ever fully replace print, TV, radio, magazine, and other forms of media– but it will become a growing share over the next 5-10 years.
What say you?