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It is years since the last time that I bought a Reader’s Digest, but it is nice to see that the book is still as popular as ever.
This is a book that can be bought just about anywhere in the world and is produced in around 50 different editions and in about 20 languages, with a claim of around 30 million copies sold each month. At just under 14 cms wide by 19 cms long and with just under 200 pages the Reader’s Digest is truly a pocket edition although Reader’s Digest prefers to call it a magazine. Readers can take out a subscription to Reader’s Digest which is obviously cheaper than buying a copy each month but it leaves the subscriber open to the many and varied offers.
The format of the magazine has been the same for as long as I can remember with stories and articles many of which have been contributed by the readers. Scattered around the pages, the reader will find a variety of quips, jokes and quotations, also contributed by the readers for which they get paid.
An extremely useful feature is the “It Pays To Enrich Your Word Power” page where 20 words are listed and each word is given four meanings. The reader is invited to select the correct meaning and over the page are the answers with an explanation.
The magazine is liberally sprinkled with advertisements which no doubt help to keep the cost down but there are not that many as to make them overwhelming. Many seem to turn up in waiting rooms at dentists, doctors and the like but, at least at my doctors or dentists there just isn’t enough time to read them as the wait is usually only a few minutes.
There is another side to the Reader’s Digest and that is their sale of books on things like gardening, atlases, road maps and a variety of other subjects. One of the better offers of Reader’s Digest is the Condensed Book offer. This is a hardback book containing three, four or five novels that have been condensed to fit into one book. They are not overtly thick, maybe about one inch, and for me they are better than the original novel that has been published as a full book. The essence of the story is still there so for readers like me who do not care for purple prose they are ideal.
There is also the ubiquitous Reader’s Digest Prize Draw where customers and ex-customers of Reader’s Digest are sent an envelope inside which are a mass of papers that tells them that they have been specially selected as an entrant in the current draw. They are also invited to buy something as well. It is clamed that whether a person buys anything or not their name still goes into the draw. If the recipient wants to buy whatever is on offer they get a postage reply paid envelope. If they don’t want to buy anything they just get a plain addressed envelope onto which they must put a stamp. Now that is discrimination.
The Reader’s Digest is a nice magazine to have on a long journey as the content is varied with the condensed story being the highlight.