Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Even the Readers Digest?

It was sad to read the following news today:

Reader’s Digest to file for bankruptcy protection

The publisher of Reader's Digest, the country’s most popular general interest magazine, said Monday it will file for Chapter 11 protection with a plan to swap a portion of its debt for ownership of the company.

Practically grew up with this book since my parents have subscribed to it from the time it landed in India. It even made my mother start a similar magazine at home to keep the 5 of us siblings engaged during the holidays. We used to write our own versions of articles and stories which was edited by my mother. She compiled them and either typed it or re-wrote by hand and named it the "Philip's journal". Since we used to write anything and everything and drop it into a box that was kept specially for this, we used to wait eagerly to see if it passed our mother's editing. It was a proud moment if it ever reached the final print.

Indian edition

The Indian edition was first published in 1954. Its circulation then was 40,000 copies. Today, the magazine is published in India by Living Media India Ltd., and sold over 600,000 copies monthly in 2008 — a fifteen-fold increase. It not only includes local Indian articles but international articles as well.

The real life drama section was always a thrill to read and the “quotable quotes” was the first page that I enjoyed reading. During the growing up years the collection of articles was always a source of comfort and inspiration.

I do read that the magazine may continue but not as before. Seems they do not have much audience amongst the young and also since similar articles are in abundance on the internet it was slowly losing its readers.

The Indian edition was not upto the mark but I always opened this little book with much eagerness and have read every single page of it. Here in Kuwait I did arrange for the magazine to be delivered at home but the delivery has always been erratic.

....edited to add the following from NDTV

"The Chapter 11 filing will apply only to the company's US businesses...its operations in Canada, Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia-New Zealand will not be affected. RDA's international operations are expected to have adequate funding based on continuing operations and access to proceeds from the DIP (debtor in possession) financing," the company said.

Earlier in March 2009, Indian Software exporter HCL Technologies had announced a seven-year IT operations and management engagement with RDA.


  1. Sad to see this happen. I too grew up reading Reader's Digest. But it clearly is a format whose time is up. In India, as internet penetration increases and more and more people get net savvy, its readership will only go down. I wonder why it does not become a free online magazine.

  2. RD is our favorite magazine, and me and my wife grew up with it. Even now we have almost 30 years of back-wolumes at home. And we still read those old ones! We are still subscribed, but the indian version, somehow seems to lose the magic, which the international version had. Or is it that we all grew up and the world too grew up with us.. Anyways, it is still a great pleasure to devour each page of readers digest every now and then.

  3. Reader's digest and Archies comics were two things which was part of me. Everywhere I went I used to carry this. Sad to read this.

  4. Yes, I read the news today. The monthly was part of growing up. Hope they recover soon, and sustainably at that.

  5. Thanks for the comments.. I love my mother and also comments from mothers...

    I read about the decreasing popularity of books... after the growth of technology and its children TV, Music systems, computers... but I still feel, it is easy to read through books than online.

    A day will come when we will be able to see books only in museums...

    I will take a picture and frame it for the generations to come...

  6. Vinod: now the internet has much more to offer.. and RD does not offer all their articles online...

    rocksea: the back volumes r there at my Parent's place too.. and the old books were thicker..the world has changed......

    Solilo: Archies was my fav too.. and recently I asked my kids why they dont love at least the comics if not the books.. seems they dont get enough time even for the computers! :)

    nd we had Tintin, Asterix.. nd how enjoyable they were!

  7. Swarna: Those days were different I guess.. there was more time for books but now we have the TV..

    Abhilash: I do really hope such a day will not come.. but then since I am not able to get hold of much books, I do all the reading online only..

  8. Its sad to see this happen but it was always coming wasn't it?

    Changes are inevitable and the e-media is certainly taken over. Except for the likes of Harry Potter once a while I dont think the books have such a profound influence on the youth today as they had during my adolescence. The youngsters prefer the net instead of the books, and this trend is going to continue.

  9. Scorpio: Yes it is inevitable... with the internet offering a wide range of subjects for those who love reading, restricting reading to a particular magazine or book will not happen. And it is not just the youngsters who are now addicted to the internet.

  10. Reader's Digest was one of the first magazines I started reading. My grandfather had issues from the 50s right upto 80's and I used to read them all - and re-read them during my school vacations. Then my cousin gifted me a subscription and that continued till I left home for college. It breaks my heart to hear this.. But then, I guess it's time is up.. It is difficult to keep a magazine like this affloat..

  11. The previous comment went through before I could type my credentials - it was mine. I submitted it by mistake :(


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