Missouri's 'Blue Book' returns in original form

Print makes a comeback

The Missouri “Blue Book” is making a comeback.

Since 2011, the book providing Missourians with information about local, state and federal governments has been available solely online.

In a new partnership, Secretary of State Jason Kander announced Tuesday that his office and the Missouri Press Association have teamed up to print the 2013-14 Official Manual, commonly known as the “Blue Book,” as a hard copy.

“The ‘Blue Book’ provides Missourians with invaluable information,” Kander said. “I’m pleased to join with the Missouri Press Association to ensure this important guide to Missouri is available in print once more.”

The Missouri Press Association will handle the production and distribution of the new printed edition, which has been available online since last December at www.mobluebook.com.

“We look forward to putting this comprehensive resource back into print,” said Doug Crews, executive director of the Missouri Press Association.

The “Blue Book” is published every two years by the secretary of state and includes an overview of state government services and contact information for government officials and departments.

“Interacting with elected officials and government agencies is vastly easier with a ‘Blue Book’ at your fingertips,” Crews said.

The “Blue Book” also takes on the role of documenting the state’s history. Its return to print will make important historical information more accessible for future generations.

“One hundred years from now, a ‘Blue Book’ on the shelf will still be easily retrievable and readable,” Crews said.

Legislators voted in April 2009 to stop the hard-copy printing of the “Blue Book.”

Printing costs and the popularity of internet usage prompted the decision. The estimated cost to print and distribute the 40,000 copies every two years added up to more than $500,000. Those utilizing the book were doing so at a 10-to-1 online ratio.

The first “Blue Book” was published in 1878, and every two years thereafter.

A law passed in 2013 allows the secretary of state to enter into an agreement directly with a nonprofit organization to print and distribute copies of the official manual using the “electronic version” of the manual the secretary has posted online.

The nonprofit organization then is required to charge a fee for a copy of the official manual to cover the cost of production and distribution.

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