Pay phones, phone booths and now phone books are becoming historical pieces. The Skagway phone directories that arrived in mailboxes this month are the last ones Alaska Power & Telephone will publish.
“This is our final edition,” says the cover of the 2020 book.
State law used to require local phone companies to distribute directories, but the law changed effective in 2016 and AP&T decided it was time to end the printing and mailing.
“Due to the ever-rising cost of producing phone books, in addition to all the electronic options for looking up phone numbers, many telecom companies, which includes AP&T, have opted out of producing phone books,” said Mary Jo Quandt, vice president and chief of customer operations at AP&T’s corporate office in Port Townsend, Washington.
“Phone directories … seem to have disappeared, along with phone booths,” she said of the nationwide direction toward saving paper and dropping the books.
“We’re in the electronic age. People use their cellphones and the internet” to find phone numbers and places, Quandt told public radio KHNS.
AP&T, which also maintains its own online phone directory at http://www.aptphonebook.com/, serves almost 20 communities in Southeast Alaska, including Skagway, Haines, Klukwan, Gustavus, Wrangell, Petersburg, Metlakatla and nine communities on Prince of Wales Island.
If you lose your last book, or want an extra, “our local offices will be keeping a reserve of the 2020 books in their offices,” Quandt said. “We should be covered for a couple years if a customer drops by the office and needs a phone book.”