>OBITUARY – Reader’s Digest

> RIP Reader’s Digest

You brought this on yourself.

It has come to our notice that Reader’s Digest UK has gone into administration.

Administrators said the UK magazine, which has more than 540,000 subscribers and was founded in 1938, would continue to trade while a buyer was sought.
The US parent group, Reader’s Digest Association (RDA), filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year after struggling with interest payments on a $2.2bn (£1.4bn) debt. It now expects to come out of Chapter 11 shortly.

The magazine’s licensee in Italy stopped publishing in December 2007.

The magazine’s parent company, The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc.. (RDA), became a publicly traded corporation in 1990. As of 2010 RDA has reported a net loss each year since 2005.

In March 2007, The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc. led a consortium of private equity investors who bought the company through a leveraged buy-out for US$1.6 billion, financed primarily by the issuance of US$2.2 billion of debt. Ripplewood invested $275 million of its own money, and had partners including Rothschild Bank of Zurich and GoldenTree Asset Management of New York. The private equity deal tripled the association’s interest payments, to $148 million a year.

On 24 August 2009 RDA announced it had filed with the U.S. Bankrupcty court a pre-arranged Chapter 11 bankruptcy, in order to continue operations, and to restructure the $2.2 billion debt undertaken by the leveraged buy-out transaction. The company emerged from bankruptcy with the lenders exchanging debt for equity, and Ripplewood’s entire equity investment was extinguished.

Readers Digest was known world wide not only for its monthly magazine articles, but also for its sweepstakes and lotteries. It was quite common to hear of people complaining of the amount of advertising materials they received from Readers Digest, but few winners were ever heard of.

In 2001, 32 states attorneys general reached agreements with the company and other sweepstakes operators to settle allegations that they tricked the elderly into buying products because they were a “guaranteed winner” of a lottery. The settlement required the companies to expand the type size of notices in the packaging that no purchase is necessary to play the sweepstakes, and to establish a “Do Not Contact List” and refrain from soliciting any future “high-activity” customers unless and until Reader’s Digest actually makes contact with that customer and determines that the customer is not buying because he or she thinks that the purchase will improve his or her chances of winning.

The agreement adversely affected Reader’s Digest ability to sustain its circulation in the U.S. Its 1970s peak circulation was 17 million U.S. subscribers. In 2009, the U.S. circulation was 8 million.
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 17 million copies and 70 million readers.

Reader’s Digest is currently published in 52 editions and 35 languages and is available in over 100 countries, including Slovenia, Croatia, Romania, and the People’s Republic of China in 2008.

Its international editions account for about 50% of the magazine’s trade volume. In each market, local editors commission or purchase articles for their own market and share content with US and other editions. 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.

Sadly in the US most recent Edition (April 2010) an article has appeared that has regular readers of this magazine wondering if their own National Reader’s Digest maybe the next to close down. and perhaps it should!

The article entitled: Five Vitamin Truths and Lies, written by Christie Aschwanden, has Doctors and Health Care providers up in arms, and many longtime faithful readers, threatening cancellation of their subscriptions. This coming on top of declining subscriptions in the US, (the Digest’s circulation dropped far below its high of 18 million, in 2000 it still had over 12.5 million subscribers,) could well and truly spell the end of the Readers Digest all together.

The Article begins: “Once upon a time, you believed in the tooth fairy. . . And you figured that taking vitamins was good for you. Oh, it’s painful when another myth gets shattered.”

That, together with all the non truths published in the article has set health conscious people ablaze with anger and mistrust of RD.

Many have threatened to cancel their subscriptions, pointing not only to the mistruths in the article, but also to the number of pharmaceutical company advertisements which appear in (not only) this current edition of RD.

Comments such as: “The material was not well-researched, and a bias was clearly in play. 15 pages of drug advertisements in that issue of Reader’s Digest is very telling, indeed.”

And: “As a family practitioner who has prescribed vitamins for many reasons, with beneficial results over the past 25 years, I have removed Reader’s Digest from my waiting room. Unless there is a follow-up article disclaiming most of what was written, I will discourage my patients from reading Reader’s Digest because of their biased and misleading information.”

And this from The Vitamin C Council: “Why did Reader’s Digest deem it appropriate to publish unbalanced opinions about the value of vitamins in the April 2010 issue? A balanced report would have quoted experts from both sides of the argument. The negative studies of vitamins are biased, utilizing too small amounts, especially of vitamin C, to fairly evaluate the therapeutic use of the vitamins. There is a 70-year-long history of vitamin C research (now more than 80,000 papers) that consistently shows therapeutic results at higher dosages of many thousands of milligrams. Linus Pauling recommended at least 5,000 mg of vitamin C daily for reversing heart disease. It is a serious public health mistake for Reader’s Digest to recommend against a multivitamin.”

Reader’s Digest, you have lost your credibility, as a family orientated, truthful, honest speaking and easy to read magazine. You are out of touch with society, and have fallen prey to the Mighty Dollar of the Big Farmaceutical interests. Your sales have been dropping and following this load of twaddle – will no doubt continue to do so. Unless you print a retraction, plus some fair and equitable articles on the value of good vitamins for the health of the human body – you will be laughed out of existence. One really must wonder who’s payroll you are on these days?

Thomas Ryder, once said of Eric Schrier (Editor in Chief of RD) : “All around the globe, we have begun an intense effort to ensure that Reader’s Digest magazine will continue to be the most read, most engaging, most trusted and most relevant source of information that consumers find anywhere,” Ryder said. “However, Eric also will aggressively pursue every opportunity to improve and extend the magazine and our magazine business, whether by assuring editorial quality, developing and acquiring new products, or building an effective Internet presence.”

One asks what happened to ‘most trusted and most relevant’????

I for one (plus all the others who have commented upon your very inaccurate and misleading story) shall not sing at your wake…….. your demise is imminent me thinks!


Just ME in T says:
Just an after thought: are you aware, you loyal Reader’s Digest Readers in the UK, that your personal details have been sold off? Who can you trust these days? certainly not RD it seems. Mind you if they can be sold off in the UK surely there is money to be made elsewhere in the RD World, doing the same thing?

Reader’s Digest puts its database of 2 million active readers on the market
Who would have thought it – all those avid readers can now be purchased via MediaLab.

The data consists of subscribers to the magazine, as well as buyers of books and products (e.g. books and DVD’s). You can even buy the details of competition entrants.

The file’s demographics are ABC1 aged 40+ with an average household income of £23k per annum. They are mainly empty-nesters who own their own home. You can even segment the data by age.


About JustMEinT Musings

I like writing, reading and expressing my opinions. I prefer natural health and healing to pharmaceutical drugs. Jesus Christ is my Lord and Saviour.
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4 Responses to >OBITUARY – Reader’s Digest

  1. The Old Wolf says:

    >Thanks so much for publishing this information. I was incensed when the anti-vitamin article was published, and I'm glad I'm not the only one.I would like to see RD return to credibility, but it would take some major crow-eating, and I don't know if they have the moral convictions to break their chains to Big Pharma.

  2. >Thanks for your comment. I also agree that it maybe financially impossible for RD to extract themselves out of the mess they are currently in. Shame they sold out to Big Farma.I thought this might interest the OLD WOLF :-)http://images.google.com.au/images?hl=en&q=Canis%20lupus%20dingo&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wiand thishttp://news.softpedia.com/news/About-Dingo-83460.shtml

  3. Anonymous says:

    >I was appalled when I read this Vitamin article… With a compromised immune system, I rely on supplements to regain optimal health. I think RD not only hurt their monthly magazine sales, but also their book sales. They have a lot of damage control to do… and frankly, I doubt they have the ability to reverse the negative effect this article has had on their credibility.

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