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Will you miss the Yellow Pages?

Yellow Pages

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.

Yellow Pages

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.

Changing world

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.

Do you still use the Yellow Pages?

No (60%, 948 Votes)

Sometimes (34%, 532 Votes)

Yes - regularly (5%, 84 Votes)

What's the Yellow Pages? (0%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,571

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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?


I hesitate to think how many trees were consumed in producing the old yellow pages, general telephone directories,Next catalogue, RS Components (boxed sets)………. I do miss Axminster Tools catalogue though that I could flick through and choose the right tool or fitment – much nicer than trawling through an online search.

Our diminutive Yellow Pages – a shadow of its former self – has just alighted under the letterbox. Unlikely to be used. But the question is often raised about those who do not have internet access – what will they now do? This “underclass” is often cited to criticise on-line offers that make life cheaper and easier for the privileged.

Who misses out?
90% of households have internet access. Of the remaining 10%, 2% have internet access elsewhere, 6.4% feel they don’t need it, 2% feel they lack the necessary skills.
Internet access varies depending on household composition. While nearly all households with children had an internet connection in 2017 (98%), access to the internet by single-adult households varied, depending on the age of the responder. For households with one adult aged 65 and over, 61% had internet access. In contrast, 88% of households with only one adult aged 16 to 64 years had internet access. The vast majority of households with internet access had fixed broadband (93%). Mobile broadband via mobile phone networks was used by 26% of households as an internet connection.”


So it seems the lowest (relatively speaking) take up is among the single over 65s – around 1.4 million without access at home. Many of these will be people with all their faculties but, maybe, not having been educated with computing at school or in work, have not got to grips with it. In the olden days you could go to “night school” to pick up useful skills; sadly this seems to have declined and become expensive. Perhaps it needs resurrecting? The internet is here to stay.

It is years since I last used Yellow Pages or the phone directory. They are put in a drawer to replace the previous versions. At one time we were forbidden from putting Yellow Pages in the recycling bin, but this is allowed nowadays.

Local businesses advertise in the village magazine, a free newspaper and various other local magazines that drop through the letterbox. These are occasionally useful but almost all the information I need is online.

I hope someone will keep some examples of Yellow Pages to look at in years to come. My mother kept a copy of the phone book from when we lived in a small village in Scotland. Our number was 163, and it was before nuisance calls were invented.

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Not used one since the late 80s. So soon as one arrives on the doorstep it goes into the recycling bin.

I keep each new edition of Yellow Pages because you never know when you might need to find a very local firm. My other main route is to make a note of the name and number from the side of the van. A lot of small businesses do not have an internet presence.

The J. R. Hartley advert took me back – but why was that awfully intrusive ‘background’ music added to it.

Without Yellow Pages, where are we going to find such informative items as “Boring – see Engineers”?

As content has increased so has ease of finding a particular search decreased. Those who have no internet access at home can use the local libraries.

That is assuming your local library hasn’t been shut down.

Something else to worry about when the next giant solar flare knocks out the world’s computers.

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Tony Comley says:
11 September 2017

hang on to your last copy in case that happens

The most important point has already been made: what if the computer ceases to work and all one’s info is lost?
This has happened to me on several occasions – so now I keep paper copies of everything.
The Yellow Pages is another such insurance for those (inevitable) occasions.

Yellow pages has been disappearing for a number of year, I have just received the latest edition. Yellow pages used to be A4 in size but the size has shrunk from A4 to A5 over the last few years. Under name finder I struggle to read an address, it should come with a magnifying glass.

Last years edition was also A5 in size with 328 pages this years edition has shrunk in volume to 200 pages at this rate in 16 months time there will be Zero pages anyway. I think that even I can rip a directory in half now without having to call on Geoff Capes for help.

I must admit that before the internet I used to use yellow pages quite frequently but I cannot remember the last time I used it, out of interest I did try and lookup a local supplier but they were not in the directory, I had to Google it.

RGradeless says:
9 September 2017

Difficult choice now gone when recycling Yellow Pages. Is yellow paper recyclable or not?

It would be best to check with your local council. Years ago, our council told us that we could now put Yellow Pages in the paper recycling bin.

Sad to see it go but I am not surprised the last time I used the Yellow Pages was when there was a power cut it’s just quicker to search on-line.

sites like Pinease will take over .

M Banting says:
11 September 2017

Yellow pages has been a joke for years. It has shrunk in size over the last few years as businesses stop taking advertising space because of the waste of the money spent on it. It has not produced any new business for years. I stopped advertising in Yellow Pages some years ago for that very reason. Definitely will not be missed.

Miss the yellow pages ? Only those who make money from recycling it will really miss it Less rubbish through my letterbox Too much pushed through today by everyone that’s why paper recycling is big business

I must admit our recycling bin is full to the brim every fortnight and a lot of that is junk mail and other unwanted ‘literature’. We now get three letters every week about broadband TV services from BT, Virgin Media and TalkTalk. I feel sorry for their subscribers who are paying for this waste. On top of that there are endless brochures and catalogues that we have previously returned for cancellation. One monthly subscription magazine has more than its own weight in inserted flyers, charity appeals, and hearing aid, stairlift, walk-in bath, and funeral plan adverts. Only three of our weekly or monthly magazine subscriptions don’t include any promos and one of those is Which? – and the mag doesn’t go in the bin for two years either.

I used to have Avon catalogues put through the letterbox, followed by someone wanting to collect them. I explained that my car had Goodyear tyres and had not used Avon since I was a motorcyclist. That did the trick.

I seem to remember that Which? used to play the leaflet game.

Having broken down in a forested area on return from holiday, I needed the number of RAC. The only number that came to mind for enquiries was 118 118.
While talking to RAC I was cut off, so was required to call them again, through 118 118. Again I was cut off.
I was able to extract the number from a text from 118 118 to call RAC a third time, successfully.
My mobile provider then texted that my mobile had been “restricted”, due to excess usage charges. In other words, emergency calls only. On calling them, they advised I had just spent £89 on two calls!!
So, stuck in a forest, lone female, evening coming on, broken down car, and mobile use taken away until I made a payment to my service provider. Oh yes, and I am also a pensioner.
Having been brought home by RAC, and checking my mobile account, I find calls of 7 minutes cost over £44 each. How the hell can this be justified? I obviously would not have had a Yellow pages on holiday with me, but this is an instant where one would have saved me so much money.

I sympathise with you over your unfortunate experience, Freddie. The last time we were with the RAC they issued a membership card [and a sticky label if I remember rightly] giving their emergency call-out number. I now have essential information [not just phone numbers] in the mobile phone list for just such a predicament.

That is extortionate. Perhaps next time you need a phone number, call a friend and ask them to look the number up for you.

It really is extortionate. The most basic RAC Roadside breakdown cover is only £45 a year which puts it in perspective.

Good tip from Alfa!

My tip is to put the number for breakdown recovery in your mobile phone, and also to keep the number in your car. With a smartphone it’s easy to look up numbers and as Alfa says, you can phone a friend.

Calling 118 118 will result in a service charge of £9.98 plus your phone company’s access charge: http://www.118118.com/about118#Cost I would like to see the government set maximum prices for essential services because the regulator is apparently happy with the rip-off.