A 1973 JCPenney holiday catalog. Photo: eBay

It's the end of an era.

JCPenney is discontinuing its biannual "Big Book" catalog and instead will concentrate its efforts on creating smaller, more targeted catalogs, online selling and social media exposure. Case in point: the retailer's recent foray onto Facebook.

The days of pouring over a telephone book sized tome -- page-after-page of tantalizing toys, clothes, shoes and home furnishings -- for hours on end are coming to a close. The current issue is JCPenney's last one.

Reasons for its demise range from the increasing costs of paper and mailing and environmental concerns about wasting paper to the availability of entire collections online versus a few outfits on a catalog page.

With the discontinuation of this catalog, JCPenney anticipates a year-over-year reduction of 25 to 30 percent in paper used for catalogs in 2010.

"Big book catalogs have become less relevant as customers have embraced shopping online, where they have ready access to our entire assortment at any time on jcp.com," Mike Boylson, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, said in a release.

In its heyday, the 36-year-old Big Book ranged from 900 to 1,500 pages and surpassed $1 billion in sales in 1979.

The Sears Catalog was the longest running "Big Book" catalog, but was discontinued in 1993 after being published 106 years.

While online shopping might be the future, we're certainly going to miss JCPenney's massive catalog!

But not all catalogs are changing -- take a peak at this retailer's over-the-top catalog. Recession, shmession!