yellow pages phone book

I threw a copy of the Yellow Pages phone book away today. Just flipped it into the recycling bin.

Not a very newsworthy event. But it was surprising. Surprising I could lift the thing.

Back in the day you had to use a sack barrow to take copy of the Yellow Pages to the bin. Now it got all the bulk and weight of a fag paper.

So it isn’t surprising the publishers of the trade directory have finally called it quits. January 2019 will see the Yellow Pages phone book published for the final time.

World Cup glory

1966 was a hell of a year. England won the World Cup. ‘Swinging London’ became a thing. And John Lennon confirmed what everyone knew. The Beatles were more popular than Jesus.

And the first edition of the Yellow pages hit the streets. Brighton was the first town to receive the thick yellow book.

And it was thick. The tomb was massive and weighted a ton. Strongmen made audiences gasp by tearing the thing in half. The rest of us tore muscles trying to carry the book.
Catchy tunes and TV advertising

“Let your fingers do the walking.” Who could forget the marvellous theme tune from the Yellow Pages ads? Or the beaming chops of JR Hartley as he finally tracked down an elusive copy of his book on fly fishing? Wonderful stuff.

Number one hit for the Yellow Pages phone book

The book was a hit and businesses scrambled to be top of the alphabetical listings. Plumbers, taxi drivers, and electricians would add ‘A’ to their company name. There was an AAA Taxis, AA Plumbers, and AAAA Electrical in every town.

The Yellow Pages phone book was a great marketing tool for small businesses. And indispensable to every household.

In the seventies and eighties everyone kept a copy of the Yellow Pages alongside their phone. It would also be found in phone boxes on every street corner.

And then the internet happened.

The price of progress

Over the last fifteen years or so the Yellow Pages has been getting slimmer every year. Now it’s a pamphlet. And a relic.

Seriously. Does anyone use it anymore?

Yell publish the Yellow Pages phone book. But they are now going to be fully digital company. No surprises there.

Angry man on phone yellow pages phone book killed by internet
“Whaddya mean they’re killing the Yellow Pages”

Yelling it from the rooftops

The publishers have marked the demise of their publication with a mixture of regret and self-congratulation.

Their CEO aid: ‘‘After 51 years in production Yellow Pages is a household name and we’re proud to say that we still have customers who’ve been with us from the very first Yellow Pages edition in 1966.

“How many brands can say they’ve had customers with them for over 50 years?”

He didn’t make it clear whether those customers were paying advertisers or households who had the book dumped on their doorstep.

That copy I threw away. I hadn’t even taken it out of the cellophane. Just like every other every other Yellow Pages phone book I’ve received in the last ten years.

It’s all a bit of shame though.

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