Media Moves

Reader’s Digest Canada to shutter after 76 years

December 12, 2023

Posted by Mariam Ahmed

The following excerpt was sent out from The Globe and Mail:

For three-quarters of a century, Reader’s Digest has been a staple in doctor’s offices, waiting rooms and – let’s be honest here – bathrooms. It was a distinct and unique publication in the magazine world, recognizable not only because of its diminutive dime-store-novel size, but its candy bowl mix of real-life features, lifestyle tips, humour and nuggets of information.

It is, in fact, a brand so iconic that “the Reader’s Digest version” would come to stand in for brevity and concision itself.

But the Canadian edition of the magazine marked its 76th – and last – birthday in November. It will shut down its operations in the new year because of “declining ad sales revenues, increased production and delivery costs and changes in consumer reading habits,” employees were told in an online meeting Tuesday.

“It’s going to be missed by a lot of readers,” said Mark Pupo, who was editor-in-chief of Reader’s Digest Canada from 2019-2022. “It was a great space for Canadian storytelling. We’re losing a lot.”

In the brief online presentation to staff – portions of which were viewed by The Globe and Mail – the company said teams have “worked diligently to address these challenges and find new ways of operating,” but that “after extensive review the difficult decision was made to wind down the Canadian business.”

Employees were told Reader’s Digest Magazines Ltd. will continue to publish its five Canadian magazines until March 31, 2024, and that the websites will remain in operation “for a certain period” with “basic support” from employees in the United States.

A spokesperson from American parent company Trusted Media Brands – identified in the presentation to staff as the person to handle all media inquiries – did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

As recently as April, a press release described Reader’s Digest as Canada’s most-read monthly magazine, boasting more than three million readers every month. Reader’s Digest Magazines Ltd. also publishes a French edition, Sélection, as well as Best Health Canada, Our Canada and More Our Canada.

On its website, Trusted Media Brands says Reader’s Digest remains the fourth-largest circulation magazine in the United States – “proof positive that print still plays an important role in storytelling.”

But the company has struggled, with the American arm filing for bankruptcy in 2009 and then again in 2013.

Read more here.

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