Reader’s Digest goes bust

The perils of your owners being on the other side of the Atlantic have been shown with the news that the Reader’s Digest in the UK was put into administration last night.

Problems sorting out the UK arm’s pension deficit had put the refinancing of the US parent in doubt, so it had to go. It’s difficult to imagine that no-one will come along and buy it out, but more than 100 jobs are at risk and it’s hardly the ideal time to look for a backer.

So much for the company motto – ‘family, home, love and life’ – when it comes to the staff.

The magazine has shown all the signs of becoming another Punch, despite some high-profile editors and a recent relaunch. I always see it in my dentist these days and I always read it as a child in the GP’s surgery.

In 1986, Reader’s Digest was selling 1.6 m copies a month and raking in the cash from those subscriptions and its offshoots but it has always seemed a baby boomer’s title and likely to fade away with that postwar generation.  Its latest sales figure was 465,028 a month.

Reader’s Digest latest issue


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