Reader's Digest

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Reader's Digest is a monthly general interest family magazine. In 2004, the U.S. edition of Reader's Digest printed 12.5 million copies and reached 44 million readers each month. Although its circulation has declined in recent years, the Audit Bureau of Circulations says Reader's Digest is the best-selling general magazine in the United States, exceeded only by the membership publications of AARP. According to Mediamark Research, Reader's Digest reaches more readers with household incomes of $100,000+ than Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, Business Week and Inc. combined. It also has more 18-35 year old readers than Entertainment Weekly. Global editions of Reader's Digest reach 100 million people in more than 70 countries, 50 editions and 20 languages.

Reader's Digest is known for its consistent worldview: upbeat and pro-American.

It is also published in a large-type edition called Reader's Digest Large Type, 49 international editions, and in a Spanish language edition called Selecciones. It is owned and published by The Reader's Digest Association, a public company based in Pleasantville, New York.


[edit] History

The cover of the May 2004 issue of Reader's Digest.

DeWitt Wallace conceived of the idea of a magazine containing condensed articles from many popular magazines while recovering from World War I injuries. DeWitt and his Canadian-born wife Lila Wallace (born Lila Bell Acheson) published the first issue on February 5, 1922, starting out of their own home. It was available by mail for 10¢ a copy. The magazine first became available on newsstands in 1929. Circulation passed the 1,000,000-copy mark in 1935. The 10 billionth copy of the U.S. edition was published in 1994, and the 1,000th U.S. issue was the August 2005 edition. In the summer of 2005, the U.S. edition adopted the slogan, "AMERICA IN YOUR POCKET."

[edit] Types of articles

Reader's Digest publishes original articles, book excerpts, and reader-submitted jokes, anecdotes and quotations. It also offers exclusive columns by Dr. Mehmet Oz, Maria Bartiromo, Will Shortz, Jeanne Marie Laskas, Mary Roach, Dr. Dean Ornish, and Michael Crowley. The magazine's mission is to inform, entertain and inspire. Articles in [1]Reader's Digest cover a range of topics, including pop culture and entertainment, politics and government, health, international affairs, business, education and humor. Articles tend to be short to allow busy readers to keep up with a variety of topics without investing too much time. Regular features include "Face to Face," a cover-featured interview with an iconic celebrity or public figure, "Only in America," up front short takes, "That's Outrageous," a look at government and societal flaws; "Word Power," a vocabulary-building quiz; "Life in These United States," a collection of humorous or profound reader-submitted anecdotes; "Ask Laskas", an advice column; and "RD Living" a mini magazine within the magazine that offers helpful advice and tips on everyday living.

[edit] Editorial procedures

Reader's Digest is regarded as one of the most carefully edited magazines in the United States.[citation needed] Articles are fact-checked for authenticity and are compatible with the magazine's family focus. RD is read by men and women and multiple generations.

The Reader's Digest model has been introduced in many countries around the world. Various editions are customized with local content without presenting the magazine as an American product. The local Reader's Digest editions generally try to remain ambiguous about the American character of the magazine.

With the exception of single topic issues, most issues have a similar structure. There is, for instance, usually one adventure story, one individual achievement story, an interview with a prominent celebrity, as well as a health report, an investigative piece, a humorous piece, a personal service piece, and a lengthier book excerpt.

The Digest has three editorial zones. The front of the book features the columns and departments with "off the news" analysis or personal stories of heroes, or other notables. The well, or body of the magazine, contains the feature stories. The back of the book offers RD Living link title(the mini magazine within the magazine). All the material is original, with the exception of book excerpts.

[edit] World view

The following are some of the basic values and writing styles found in the Reader's Digest.

  • Individual achievement. Digest subjects often reflect the power of the individual. They fight the good fight against bureaucrats and unfair systems; they risk their own personal safety or fortune to help others; they triumph over a bad turn of fate. Their only weapons are their own courage, cooperation between individuals, and in some cases, their faith.
  • Optimism. Although many hard-hitting pieces on terrorism, threats to children and other reports uncover crimes and misdemeanors, articles often reflect the best of humanity, with upbeat and triumphant personal stories.
  • Family values Though the Digest has from the beginning written very openly on issues of sexuality, abortion, right to die, abuse of children, and other tough subjects, it has always been viewed as a family magazine, able to be read by teenagers and adults alike. Curse words that routinely appear in other publications do not appear in the "Digest."

[edit] International editions

Although Reader's Digest was founded in the U.S., its international editions have made it the best-selling monthly magazine in the world. The magazine's worldwide circulation including all editions has reached 21 million copies and over 100 million readers.

The first international edition was published in the United Kingdom in 1938. Reader's Digest is currently published in 50 editions and 21 languages and is available in over 61 countries. In 2006, the Reader's Digest continued to expand, marketing three more new editions in Slovenia, Croatia and Romania.

Its 49 foreign editions, which account for about 50% of its trade volume, are controlled from the American headquarters. Except for 2 or 3 articles in each local issue, they are entirely composed of articles taken from the US and other editions, creating a mix of articles from many regions of the world. The local editorial staff comprise an office of people who select from the US and other editions and commission local content pieces, subject -- in rare cases -- to the approval of the American headquarters. The selected articles are then translated by local translators and the translations edited by the local editors to make them match the "well-educated informal" style of the American edition.

[edit] Canadian edition

The Canadian edition first appeared in February 1948, and today the vast majority of it is Canadian content. All major articles in the August 2005 edition and most of the minor articles were selected from locally-produced articles that matched the Digest style. There is usually at least one major American article in most issues.

"Life's Like That" is the Canadian version of "Life in These United States." All other titles are taken from the American publication. Recent "That's Outrageous" articles have been using editorials from the Calgary Sun.

[edit] Localization procedures

Considerable efforts are made to give the foreign editions a local look to make sure the Digest is never seen to be a threat to the local cultural identity, as imported American cultural products often are. Previously, all editions featured the table of contents on the front cover, but this practice ceased a few years ago. While the American edition also lists the authors of the articles or the (American) publications they have been taken from, the foreign editions list only titles, although some editions followed the US format in the past. Advertisement placement in the local editions are entirely managed by the local staff and reflect local products.

Many American articles are integrated within the local context. For instance, in an article on air travel, John F. Kennedy Airport will be replaced by a local airport and references to American airlines with information on local companies. Local statistics may be added, currencies and measures will be adapted. Local names, quotes or pictures of local sights will sometimes replace the original ones. All those operations are called "adaptation" by the Digest editors: they are performed by the local editors and writers according to general central rules but without specific US control.

Another, similar intervention is to complement the numerous sections featuring short anecdotes (such as Quotable Quotes, Points to Ponder, Humor in Uniform, etc) with local anecdotes.

Local editions also avoid reprinting articles which may touch on sensitive spots in the receiving culture; for instance, the Italian edition may decide not to select articles which are critical of Catholicism. In general, the local editions will also avoid selecting texts which are too closely linked to very specific American (or too foreign) situations. The few articles written by local authors always deal with local topics.

Reader's Digest also publishes hardcover condensed books issued 4 times a year, each one containing condensations of four newly published novels or inspirational memoirs and other current nonfiction titles. The nonfiction series is called "Today's Best Nonfiction." The fiction series now goes by the name of "Select Editions" and is still around today; volumes from the original "Condensed Books" series can be found in thrift shops. Other series include an uncondensed "Best Mystery of All Times" series, an uncondensed "World's Best Reading" series, and a large-type edition of the condensed series. In addition to the wide range of offerings from its trade book division (home, health, cooking, DIY, crafts, etc.), Reader's Digest sells recordings of early big band music, romantic ballads, and various other products through their website; much of this music is also available to download through online music channels.

Reader's Digest has announced a merger agreement with Ripplewood Holdings, LLC.

[edit] References

  • John Bainbridge, Little Wonder. Or, the Reader's Digest and How It Grew, New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1945.
  • John Heidenry, Theirs Was the Kingdom: Lila and DeWitt Wallace and the Story of the Reader's Digest, New York/London: W.W. Norton, 1993
  • Clem Robyns, "The Internationalisation of Social and Cultural Values: On the Homogenization and Localization Strategies of the Reader's Digest", in Jana Králová & Zuzana Jettmarová, Translation Strategies and Effects in Cross-Cultural Value Transfers and Shifts, Prague: Folia Translatologica, 83-92, 1994
  • Samuel A. Schreiner, The Condensed World of the Reader's Digest, New York: Stein and Day, 1977.
  • James Playsted Wood, 1958: Of Lasting Interest: The Story of the Reader's Digest, Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1958.

[edit] External links

es:Reader's Digest fr:Reader's Digest it:Selezione (Reader's Digest) ja:リーダーズ・ダイジェスト pt:Reader's Digest fi:Valitut Palat sv:Det Bästas Bokval ur:ریڈرز ڈائجسٹ zh:读者文摘

Reader's Digest

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