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The End of Readers Digest!


This is the magazine we have grown up reading to and hearing this news was a bit shocking! The publisher of Magazine, Reader’s Digest Association Inc said that it will file for bankruptcy protection with a plan to swap a portion of its debt for ownership of the company.

Readers Digest Magazine

For past sometime, Reader’s Digest is facing tough times owing to the splendid growth of Internet and online magazines/articles. This year’s ad declines saw the closing of several high-profile titles including Conde-Nast’s Portfolio, Domino and Blender.

We keep on hearing bad news from publishing front of US, which is facing real tough time owing to the growth of online media. Due to lack of expenditure in print advertisement (which is the only major source of revenue, except subscriptions) publishers are facing major revenue losses.

Moreover most of the articles can be found over net for free, and advertisement over net is also very cheap. So even if I’m reading a Reader’s digest article over net, Google is the only company earning big money.

I strongly feel that it’s time we need some out of the box idea to save this ailing publishing media. Even in India English newspapers are facing some heat due to downfall in subscription numbers. Contrary to this, regional language news papers are doing good which makes it clear that more and more educated junta is moving towards e-paper and blogs.

Let’s brainstorm some of the ideas at this forum. If you think there is some other business model which these publications can follow, kindly share with us.

[This Media Monday post has been written by Rabi Gupta, a start up enthusiast and co-founder of iDubba (Intelligent Box).]

  1. Carol Ogden says

    I am looking for a copy of the 1961 April or June issue of the Readers Digest.

  2. Umasree Raghunath says

    Hi Arun,

    Its indeep a sad news. I loved not just reading RD but also preserving the old ones and when ever I end up in a difficult situation, I used to find solutions in the old hiding RD’s I have with me. Same time equally glad to read the insight given by William which is solace to ardent followers of RD.

    I have been watching the way the Print Media is going down the lane for a while and reported one Wednesday when I found the Opportunities Edition of The Hindu missing and went on my blog writing about it at length. Yes, the advertising revenue being sustainable income for print media is a major hit with the technology and online newspapers and flash news there every minute at the corner of our PCs.

    The look and feel of Newspapers is improved over the years, but two things are hitting them hard, one is Young generations are no more interested to read newspapers in the mornings and not much of people really look for advertisments n Paper these days! The husstle bustle of modern life doesnt let us enjoy the indepth columns that once used to be very much part of life. Your is an example of how latest news here is more organized and reached than the wide spread newspaper! So customization to happen in Print media to survive and encourage the readers volume to increase. Innovation should be the biggest watch word now and Creativity beyond boundaries to go!

  3. Ankur Vyas says

    I would like to feature this post/blog on my website. Click on username and let me know.

  4. Ankit says

    Interesting one rabbi, infact i was plannin to do a writeup on this one too.
    But, you have bought the plight of print media just right.

    The way i see it, the print media is getting a bit too redundant and on top of that there is too many players in the niche.
    Now, with online media going mainstream, the players have all gone online thinking they need to do what the whole world is doing.

    My thought is:
    If you can actaully deliver content that seperates u from others, why not share partial snippets on the website.Enough to get the user interest and make him buy the print version.the numbers will still nt increase mainfold but the balance could be maintained,
    Moreover, i am total newspaper person.So, no matter how much i can read online,i still cant do without my morning cuppa and a newspaper

    1. rabi gupta says

      Very true Ankit. More than that I’d suggest all print publications to ease their process of subscriptions. RD does that very well, but in India I still find it difficult to get subscriptions of some of my favorite magazines. It’s not impossible, but difficult. Even the local vendors should have this information on how to subscribe for weekly or monthly issues.

  5. William Adler says

    It would be sad news, but fortunately it’s not true. Your article is correct in saying that the U.S. parent corporation of Reader’s Digest is going through a financial structuring, but this has nothing to do with the magazine, which is actually faring very well despite the recession. The corporate change as you correctly report involves the banks — and this addresses a balance sheet problem dating from the company being taken private with a lot of debt in 2007. The company’s main revenue source is direct mail, NOT advertising, and the magazine’s ads are mainstream and thus not as affected by the recession as the magazines you cite, which depended on high volume of luxury-product ads. Reader’s Digest with its back-to-basics positioning has gained ad market share in the recession, continues to add new editions globally, and reports higher subscription renewal rates since a 2008 graphic redesign. Yes, it’s true that readers are moving the the Internet, but so are we — we now have 65 branded websites around the world and have digital as a big part of our content-delivery approach. So, not to worry! : – )
    – William Adler, VP Global Communications, The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc.

    1. Arun Prabhudesai says

      Dear William,

      I am so glad to hear that. Just cant imagine Readers Digest going down. It is something that we have grown up on.

      Thank you for your update, we really appreciate it.

    2. rabi gupta says

      Hi William,

      That’s really some good news you gave us! Thanks.
      I also appreciate you for clarifying the internal details behind the problem and throwing some insights on how you guys are tackling with recessionary troubles.
      Looking forward to some great issues of RD :-).

  6. Business Plan Writers says

    This is really a sad news about the end of reader’s digest.
    You are right that now-a-days most of the readers are moving towards the e-paper and blogs from which they can access any article of their choice in free of cost.
    Thanks for sharing this information.

    1. rabi gupta says

      Hey being on’s media monday section its our duty to serve you with updated and exciting happenings from media world. It’s our pleasure that you like our article :)!

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