The Yellow Pages directory is finally killed by the Internet

It’s an ex-directory: Internet finally kills the Yellow Pages while the final edition is published after 50 years

  • Parent company Yell: First of 104 final editions to be distributed in January 2018
  • The last will be delivered in 2019 to Brighton – where it all started in 1966
  • The Yellow Pages are still profitable, but the company said it probably won’t be in a few years.
  • Famous commercials include 1983 for an out of print book: Fly Fishing by JR Hartley










For more than 50 years it has settled next to the landline, solving countless domestic crises and securing lucrative work for local traders.

But the internet ultimately killed the Yellow Pages, its parent company Yell announced today.

The first of 104 final editions will be distributed in Kingston in January 2018, and the last will be delivered to Brighton – where it all started in 1966 – a year later.

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The first of 104 final editions will be distributed in Kingston in January 2018, the last to be delivered to Brighton - where it all started in 1966 - a year later.

Yellow … and goodbye: The internet has finally killed the Yellow Pages, its parent company Yell announced today. The first of 104 final editions will be distributed in Kingston in January 2018, and the last will be delivered to Brighton – where it all started in 1966 – a year later.

While Yellow Pages is still profitable, the company acknowledged that it probably wouldn’t be in a few years, as nearly every business now has an online presence.

The repertoire will be remembered for a slew of beloved commercials – the most famous of which, from 1983, showed a gentle elderly man, played by Norman Lumsden, searching for an out of print book: Fly Fishing by JR Hartley .

After a futile search, he consults the yellow pages and manages to locate a copy – and we find out that he is the author.

Actor James Nesbitt starred in a series of ads for the yearbook, including one that showed him being trapped by a dog and checking the Yellow Pages for help.

The repertoire will be remembered for a host of beloved commercials - the most famous of which, from 1983, showed a gentle elderly man, played by Norman Lumsden (above), searching for an out of print book: Fly Fishing by JR Hartley

The repertoire will be remembered for a slew of beloved commercials – the most famous of which, from 1983, showed a gentle elderly man, played by Norman Lumsden (above), searching for an out of print book: Fly Fishing by JR Hartley

Actor James Nesbitt starred in a series of ads for the yearbook, including one that showed him being trapped by a dog and checking the Yellow Pages for help

Actor James Nesbitt starred in a series of ads for the yearbook, including one that showed him being trapped by a dog and checking the Yellow Pages for help

The Yellow Pages were first published in 1966 and rolled out across the UK a decade later.

The latest Yellow Pages printing cycle marks Yell’s transition to a purely digital service.

Managing Director Richard Hanscott said: “After 51 years of production, Yellow Pages is a household name and we are proud to say that we still have customers who have been with us since the very first edition of Yellow Pages in 1966.

Latest Yellow Pages print cycle marks Yell's transition to a purely digital service

Latest Yellow Pages print cycle marks Yell’s transition to a purely digital service

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

“We are proud of the transformation we have made from print to digital. Like many businesses, Yell has discovered that being digital successful requires constant change and innovation.

“We are well positioned to continue to help local businesses and consumers succeed online, now and in the future.”

How 1966 made local merchants happy: The birth of the Yellow Pages

By NICK ENOCH for MailOnline

There was a time when telephone directories around the world were known as the white pages. These directories only contained residential listings. But then the companies realized the advantage of being listed themselves – and the Yellow Pages were born.

But first, a little history …

1878: The first telephone directory is published, two years after the invention of the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell.

1880: The first UK phone book is printed, containing just 248 names – but no phone numbers. Callers had to call the operator to connect.

1966: General Post Office first publishes a classified section called Yellow Pages in the Brighton telephone directory. The yellow pages have been used to distinguish commercial lists from non-commercial white page lists.

Another classic ad featured a teenage boy waking up to find a tip in his house - and in desperate need of a French polisher to sort through the scratches on his parents' coffee table

Another classic ad featured a teenage boy waking up to find a tip in his house – and in desperate need of a French polisher to sort through the scratches on his parents’ coffee table

1973: The first yellow pages directories – with the “walking fingers” logo – are rolled out across Britain and published annually.

1988: Yell, the company behind the directory, begins its digital offering with Electronic Yellow Pages.

In recent years: The yellow pages have become narrower and shorter; a new version in 2010 contained all of the same listings, but came in a compact version that went through the mailbox. The move came as Yell battled claims that directories were getting stale as consumers turned to the internet.

Historically, the Yellow Pages book was about the size of an A4 sheet of paper – 12 inches by nine inches. The new version was about two inches shorter and just under two inches narrower.

2017: Yell announces the death of the iconic publication.


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Marvin M. Moreno

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