I appreciate that some people do not have access to the Internet, and may not have the ability to obtain a number easily without a telephone book, but they are such a gratuitous waste of paper. It is a bit obscene, in this day and age, to use that much paper to write a bunch of local buisness and office numbers on.
Telephone books are completely obsolete. Ever since the rise of the cell-phones, and especially smart phones, everyone has been able to keep a contact list. Most people don't want their numbers known to the public anyway because it allows them to be targeted by advertisers or other people whom they simply don't want to know their number.
Nowadays Internet is so easily available and easily accessible that paper information is getting redudent almost. There are few people who don's use technology to such extent but most of new generation and many old people have chosen to embrace internet. Its so fast to find phone numbers and even more details with internet. Printing books is waste of trees , energy and manpower.
One of the largest environmental problem that the world faces today is bad stewardship of the world that was given us. The manufacture of phone books contributes to the destruction of 5 million trees (http://www.zdnet.com/article/is-it-time-to-ban-phone-books/). The majority of the citizenry use their computer, smart phone, or other device to look up any number that they could ever hope to find. With that being said, I believe that the manufacture of phone books is a massive waste of our precious resources.