Reader's Digest Association

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Reader's Digest Association
Founded 1922
Founder DeWitt and Lila Wallace
Country of origin United States
Headquarters location 750 Third Avenue
New York City
Publication types Magazines, Books
Official website www.rda.com

The Reader's Digest Association, Inc. (RDA) is a global media and direct marketing company, best known for its flagship publication founded in 1922, Reader's Digest. The company is headquartered in New York City, where it moved from Pleasantville, New York. Reader's Digest Association, Inc. is owned by its parent company RDA Holding Co.

The company was founded by DeWitt and Lila Wallace in 1922 with the first publication of Reader's Digest magazine, but has grown to include a diverse range of magazines, books, music, DVDs and online content.

RDA publishes 75 magazines globally including 49 editions of Reader's Digest magazine. Other magazines include The Family Handyman (U.S. and Australia); Best Health (Canada and Australia) and RD Specials, one-time publications sold at supermarket checkout counters. RDA also sells 30 million books a year worldwide including general books, illustrated reference books, Select Editions (condensed books), and adult and children's trade books. The company also markets music collections, videos and other products, and has a number of branded online communities.

In 1991 the company acquired Joshua Morris Publishing, a children's book publisher based in Wilton, Connecticut and made its first move into the children's book industry.

In 2002, the company purchased Reiman Publications, based in Greendale, Wisconsin, from Madison Dearborn Partners. Reiman Publications, publisher of Taste of Home, Healthy Cooking, Simple and Delicious, Birds & Blooms, Country, Country Woman, Farm and Ranch Living and Reminisce, was started by Roy Reiman.

In March 2007, after being publicly traded for 15 years and posting net losses in its last two fiscal years, Reader's Digest was acquired by an investor group led by Ripplewood Holdings, a private equity firm. Mary G. Berner, formerly of Conde Nast Publications, was appointed as RDA's President and Chief Executive Officer.

Berner replaced executives and sold unprofitable businesses, including Books Are Fun in November 2008. This is a North American book and gift display marketer which RDA acquired in 1999 but had been operating at a loss for many years.

In November 2008 the company also announced a multimedia partnership with Rick Warren, the minister and author. Hoping to tap into the vast audience for his book The Purpose Driven Life, they aimed to create a Christian membership organization, anchored by the magazine The Purpose Driven Connection published by Reader's Digest and built on Warren’s call to faith and charitable work. In November 2009 after only four issues the partnership and magazine were discontinued.

RDA has 42 office locations in 30 countries. RDA products are sold in 79 countries. The company claims to have readers in nearly 100 million households worldwide with a diverse range of geographic and demographic profiles.

RDA is well known for its philanthropic contributions through The Reader's Digest Foundation, a charitable, grant-making institution established by the Company's founders and funded by contributions from The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc.

The company has been criticized for its controversial sweepstakes marketing tactic where customers are invited by mail to participate in a draw of up to $1,000,000. The invitation has been criticized for implying that customers need to make a purchase to enter the draw, when in fact the draw is open to anyone who is on the mailing list. Sweepstakes have been discontinued in the USA but are still used in Canada, Australia and India.

The company filed for bankruptcy on August 24, 2009[1] and emerged on February 22, 2010, owned by its lenders. In April 2010, the UK arm was sold to its management in a £13 million deal backed by Jon Moulton, leaving a £125 million pension liability with the US parent.[2]

On April 26, 2011, Mary G. Berner was replaced as president and CEO of the Reader's Digest Association by former Chief Financial Officer Tom Williams who was then replaced by Robert Guth on September 12, 2011. Since that time RDA has sold its Every Day with Rachael Ray publication and Allrecipes.com (acquired in 2006) to the Meredith Corp. and has also sold Weekly Reader and its Lifestyles and Entertainment Division.

Business Divisions[edit]

North America

  • Reader's Digest magazine, rd.com, Trade books, music;
  • Taste of Home (and other Reiman publications), Taste of Home Entertaining;
  • The Family Handyman, Birds & Blooms, Country,Farm & Ranch, Reminisce;
  • Major US publisher of health books sold directly to consumers;


International

(Operations in 30+ countries selling products in 79+ countries)

  • RD Europe, Africa and Middle East
  • RD Asia Pacific
  • RD Latin America regions

References[edit]

  1. ^ Folio magazine
  2. ^ Moore Stephens sells Reader's Digest to Jon Moulton business, Accountancy Age, 12 April 2010

External links[edit]