I recently moved to Homestead, a small town at the south end of Miami-Dade County, Florida. The phone company provided me with a free set of Miami white pages and has promised to provide me with the much small combined white-yellow directory for the Homestead area. But if I want the Miami yellow pages, that will cost me $53 – because I’m not in the immediate Miami area. (But this is such a small town, I expect to do a lot of shopping further north.)
I’ve done a lot of moving in my life, and never had any trouble getting yellow pages. Time was, you could go to any phone mart and find stacks of yellow pages set out free for the taking. Or go to the Chamber of Commerce. They’d give 'em away. Makes sense. Yellow pages are essentially a bundle of advertising. When you’re in that business, advertisers have to pay for ad space – but their potential customers get the finished product for free.
When and why did they start charging money for yellow pages?