Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Add Reader's Digest to the list

The latest struggling print product is the time-honored Reader's Digest. The publisher of the general interest magazine has filed Chapter 11 protection with a plan to swap a portion of its debt for ownership of the company.

The Reader's Digest CEO insists the magazine remains viable despite $1.6 billion in debt. Like many print products, Reader's Digest, which started in 1922, has struggled in the electronic age.

According to the Associated Press, in June, the magazine announced it would cut the circulation guarantee it makes to advertisers to 5.5 million, from 8 million and lower its frequency to 10 issues a year from 12.

In the second half of last year, the U.S. edition of Reader’s Digest had circulation of 8.2 million, down from a peak of roughly 17 million in the 1970s.

I used to read Reader's Digest every month, but to be honest, haven't really perused it in years expect maybe at a doctor's office. I know it's undergone a facelift in recent times to update itself.

My grandmother faithfully subscribed for years and years. Like many, she would save them too. When I stayed with her, I'd always read the staple of humor anecdotes.

"Life In These United States," "Laughter, the Best Medicine" and "Humor in Uniform" were regulars. There was always something medical in them, like "I Am Joe's Ulnar Nerve" and always some kind of drama, like "Terror on the Colorado River."

Hang in there, Reader's Digest. You're a true taste of Americana.

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