Wednesday | October 1, 2014
Reader's Digest To Offer New Abridged Version

NEW YORK (CAP) - Publishers of the venerable Reader's Digest magazine have announced plans to begin producing a new condensed version of the publication that will cater to a readership growing ever tight on time. The new Reader's Digest: Morsel Edition will be available starting next month.

"We understand that we're just one of many, many things vying for your attention every single day," said Reader's Digest Editor-in-chief Liz Vaccariello. "Our goal is simple: we want to remain one of the dozens of sources of information that you skim and forget on a daily basis.

"Because hey, if you have to go back and re-read something since you weren't really paying attention the first time, that's more pageviews for us," Vaccariello added. "And if you can log in the second time from a different IP address and look like a totally different visitor, all the better."

While certainly available online and in mobile formats, Reader's Digest ME will also follow the printed subscription schedule of the full Reader's Digest, showing up in readers' mailboxes ten times per year at random intervals. An entire edition will fit on one side of an 8 1/2 by 11-inch piece of paper.

"And there will be copious amounts of pictures," said newly appointed Reader's Digest ME Cut & Paste Editor Abby Bridgedale. "After you get your mail, you'll have this puppy read before you can walk back up the driveway to your house.

"Or toss it in the little magazine basket you keep in the bathroom," added Bridgedale. "We guarantee you'll polish it off before it's even time to wipe."

Most of the material for the new leaflet will be culled from the full version of Reader's Digest under the direction of Bridgedale's team. Instead of the full list of 13 Household Tips For Keeping Dish Towels Smelling Like Spring, for example, Bridgedale's staff will pare it down to the best five or six and remove extraneous words like the and you and anything ending in -ly.

"Also, we'll be running a lot of things you already know," Bridgedale said. "This way you'll reinforce existing knowledge and at the same time gain the satisfaction that comes from having read Reader's Digest without actually having to take the time to read Reader's Digest."

Reaction from the magazine community has been mostly positive, with public libraries excited to free up space in their periodicals sections for more issues of the hotly sought after Popular Mechanics and Good Housekeeping. However, many pundits question whether the change will alienate a readership still grumbling over the company's decision to drop the Pegasus logo in 2007.

"Young people today are reading things like The Four-Hour Work Week and Lifehack and anything with meme in it," said CAP News library consultant Nancy Pearl. "They aren't reading a magazine whose name hasn't changed since 1922 and that they remember sitting on their grandparents' coffee table beside a bowl of Raisinets."

To that end, Vaccariello has confirmed the company will be producing a large-print edition of RD: ME that unlike its smaller print counterpart will be published on both sides of the sheet of paper.

- CAP News Staff

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