Next week Berkeley will become the next Bay Area city to consider regulating the delivery of phone books. The SF Chronicle outlines the plan:

Berkeley’s City Council is set next Tuesday to push for an anti-phone-book measure like the one adopted by Seattle, in which phone book companies are fined $125 per book for delivering to residents who don’t want one…

The Berkeley measure would urge the Alameda County recycling agency to adopt a model like Seattle’s. In Seattle, residents can stop phone book delivery – as well as catalogs and junk mail – by registering at a website run by a Berkeley nonprofit called

San Francisco launched a crackdown on phone books earlier this year and NPR’s Richard Gonzalez filed this story. The Chron descirbes SF’s rule this way:

Signed by Mayor Ed Lee in May, the ordinance requires phone book companies to deliver only to residents who opt in. The ordinance does not go into effect for a year. The phone book industry has filed a suit to block it.

In fact the phone book industry is busy in the courts, their suit against Seattle is now with a US appeals court.

So are you ready to give up your phone book?

I was earlier this week… our apartment building got its annual delivery and we all played shuffle the phone book to each others’ doorsteps. Somehow our household ended up with three at the end of the day. And phone books are far less tasty than the proverbial sneaky zucchini drop.

Do Phone Books Have a Future in Berkeley? 13 September,2011Rachel Dornhelm


Rachel Dornhelm

Rachel Dornhelm has worked as a reporter, editor and producer in public radio for the last twelve years. She got her start in New York City at WNYC and went on to work with the national business program Marketplace, WBUR’s “On Point” and KQED News in San Francisco. Her work has been honored by the LA Press Club and the SF-Peninsula Press Club.

Rachel has a BA with honors in anthropology from Rice University and did graduate work at NYU.

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