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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Hagadone to expand its phone directory

From staff reports

COEUR d’ALENE — Hagadone Directories Inc. will expand its line of phone books to Spokane County next year.

The Coeur d’Alene company was founded in 1987, when it produced North Idaho’s first regional telephone directory, covering communities in a five-county area.

“We knew this area operated as a region, and did business as a region,” said Jim Hail, founder and president of Hagadone Directories. But people had to shuffle through multiple directories to find phone numbers in St. Maries, Sandpoint, the Silver Valley and Bonners Ferry. “It made it a challenge to do business,” Hail said.

Hagadone Directories has since expanded the concept of a regional phone book to other small and mid-sized communities in the Northwest and Northern California. It now supplies phone directories to more than 1 million people, according to Hail.

The directories are known as “Black Books” because of their black covers. Hail said the North Idaho Black Book is used by about 97 percent of the consumers in the marketplace, and Montana editions have about 88 percent penetration of that market.

The Spokane County phone book will be distributed to phone customers by July 2005.

Hagadone Directories decided to pursue the Spokane market after a consultant surveyed 523 Spokane County business owners. Hail said 75 percent had a favorable impression of the Black Book, a good indication for Yellow Page advertising sales. The books are distributed free, and the company’s revenue comes from advertising. With more than 400,000 people in Spokane County, the project will be Hagadone Directories’ largest publication to date.

Consumers used to get just one phone book, the directory published by their local telephone company. Now, multiple phone directories show up on peoples’ porches.

“There was a 100-year tradition whereby the incumbent telephone company produced the telephone book,” Hail said. “Today, there’s competition…”

Hagadone Directories is a division of Hagadone Corp., which owns newspapers, real estate and the Coeur d’Alene Resort.

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