Digest size

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Digest size is a magazine size, smaller than a conventional or "journal size" magazine, but larger than a standard paperback book, approximately 14 cm × 21 cm (5+12 by 8+14 inches). It is also a 13.65 cm × 21.27 cm (5+38 by 8+38 inches) and 14 cm × 19 cm (5+12 by 7+12 inches) format,[1] similar to the size of a DVD case. These sizes evolved from the printing press operation end. Some printing presses refer to digest size as a "catalog size". The digest format was a convenient size for readers to tote around or to leave within easy hand-reach.


The most famous digest-sized magazine is Reader's Digest, from which the size appears to have been named.[2] TV Guide also used the format from its inception in 1953 until 2005. Bird Watcher's Digest was an international magazine that has retained the digest size from its creation in 1978 until it folded in 2021.

Digest size is less popular now than it once was. The Penny Publications crime fiction and science fiction magazines Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, Analog and Asimov's Science Fiction, as well as many of their word-puzzle and now-folded horoscope magazines, switched to a format slightly taller than standard digest size. Other publications remaining in digest size are Prevention, Guideposts Magazine and some Archie comics digests.[3]

Children's Digest was originally in digest size but switched long ago to a larger format as well, though keeping the word "Digest" in its name. Writer's Digest is another publication with the word in its name that is not actually produced at that size.[citation needed]

Science fiction digests[edit]

From the 1950s the format was used by several science fiction magazines.[4] Those still being published as of 2023 are:

Magazines that were published in digest format but are no longer being published include:

Comics digests[edit]

From the late 1960s on, several comic book publishers put out "comics digests," consisting mostly if not entirely of reprinted material, usually about 6+12 in × 5 in (17 by 13 centimetres). Gold Key Comics produced three digest titles that lasted until the mid-1970s: Golden Comics Digest, Mystery Comics Digest, and Walt Disney Comics Digest. DC Comics produced several in the early 1980s (including DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest and The Best of DC), and Harvey Comics also published a few during the same time (including Richie Rich Digest Magazine). Archie Comics has published numerous comics digests since 1973, and in the 2000s Marvel Comics has produced a number of digests, primarily for reprint editions.

The manga graphic novel format is similar to digest size, although slightly narrower and generally thicker.

The A5 paper size used by many UK fanzines is slightly wider and taller than digest size.

In Italy, Topolino's Disney comics title has been published in the format since 1949, inspired by Reader's Digest (which was also published by Arnoldo Mondadori Editore).[5] Also Diabolik and the vast amount of so called fumetti neri for adults are commonly published in this format.

The format is widely used in comics published in Italy, France, Brazil, Mexico, Spain and more countries.[6]


  1. ^ Drake, David; Flint, Eric; Baen, Jim. The World Turned Upside Down. Baen Books, 2006.
  2. ^ John Clute and David Langford (ed.). "Digest". The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. Gollancz. Retrieved 2011-12-10.
  3. ^ "Archie Giant Comics Digests". PenguinRandomhouse.com. Retrieved 2023-09-18.
  4. ^ Ashley, Michael. "The history of the science-fiction magazine: the story of the science-fiction magazines from 1950 to 1970," Transformations, Volume 2 (2005), p. 3 ISBN 978-0-85323-779-2
  5. ^ Mario Morcellini, Alberto Abruzzese, Donatella Scipioni, Carocci, Il Mediaevo: TV e industria culturale nell'Italia del XX secolo Volume 290 de Università (Rome, Italy), 404, 2001
  6. ^ John Morrow, Jack Kirby, TwoMorrows Publishing, Collected Jack Kirby Collector, 154, 2004. ISBN 1-893905-01-2, ISBN 978-1-893905-01-6