Come January 2019, the Yellow Pages will cease printing, after more than five decades as a household stalwart. Will you even notice its departure?
There was a time when you could walk into any home and find the Yellow Pages neatly stacked with the phone directory next to the landline telephone.
In an age when smartphones and the internet didn’t exist, it used to be the go-to source for finding local businesses and tradespeople.
So treasured was it, that I’m pretty sure it would be chained to shelves in public telephone boxes so no one could steal it. And when the shiny new yellow tome landed on your doorstep each year, it was met with a degree of excitement (well, it was on the cul-de-sac where I grew up!).
As it took pride of place next to said landline, last year’s edition would be either used as a doorstop-cum-step for accessing those hard-to-reach top shelves in the kitchen, or consigned to the cupboard under the stairs. Here it would remain until it could be donated to the school fete, where the fifth form boys would display their strength by ripping it up for 50p a go.
Best of all were the Yellow Pages TV adverts featuring old men looking for out-of-print books or partied-out teens searching for French polishers. You knew from the first frame exactly what was being promoted.
These days the somewhat condensed directory fits through my letter box. And nine times out of ten, it gets put straight in the recycling bin.
With a smartphone, tablet and laptop at my fingertips, if I need the phone number of a local business or need to get hold of a tradesperson, I’ll turn to the internet.
Without even thinking about it, I’ve helped hammer in the final nail in the Yellow Pages’ coffin.
In just 16 months’ time, the last editions will be run off the printing press, after its owner, Yell, took the decision to fully digitise the business. Ending a run of 53 years, the last of the 104 final editions will be sent to addresses in Brighton, where Yellow Pages was first published in 1966.
Yell will be printing 23 million copies of the final editions. And as they’re likely to become collectors’ items, if one lands on my doorstep, I’ll probably keep it.
Do you still use the Yellow Pages? Will you miss it?