The once immensely popular Reader’s Digest has announced it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. While its flagship magazine was once ubiquitous on checkout lines and in doctors’ offices, it’s been harder to find lately. As I read the news, “Reader’s Digest Plans Chapter 11 Filing,” it occurred to me that I don’t remember seeing the Digest during recent doctors visits, and I can remember seeing other magazine covers while standing on checkout lines, but I don’t remember seeing Digest lately.
I’m not entirely surprised because the sort of condensed content that was the essence of Reader’s Digest is now easily available online. In fact, unlike long-form journalism like The New Yorker and Atlantic Monthly, whose articles can be too long to read on a computer screen, the Reader’s Digest format is ideal for the online age.
I think the only surprising thing is that Reader’s Digest, which always condensed bestsellers, reached chapter 11. I would’ve thought it might have been able to condense the bankruptcy filings to Chapter 7.