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Reader’s Digest UK closes after 86 years

18 May 2024

The iconic magazine succumbed to the financial pressures of the competition in today’s ruthless publication scenario.

Reader’s Digest was first published in the US in 1922 and in the UK in 1938. During its peak, the magazine circulated two million copies in the UK. In 2000, it was selling over a million copies per month. By the second half of 2013, its sales had plummeted to less than 187,000 copies per month, 89.3% of which were paid copies.

Better Capital acquired Reader’s Digest UK in April 2010 for £13-14 million and further invested £9 million. However, the magazine struggled financially and was saved by Mike Luckwell, an entrepreneur known for creating the hit kids’ TV show Bob The Builder. He bought the magazine for just one pound!

Reader’s Digest set the benchmarks of direct marketing strategies in the publishing industry. It carved a niche in targeted mail campaigns and sweepstakes. However, the magazine failed to adapt to changing consumer preferences and the dynamism of the media industry.

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