American Mass-Market Magazines

By Alan Nourie; Barbara Nourie | Go to book overview
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Although Wallace had condensed chapters or sections of nonfiction books, it wasn't until late 1934 that a condensed book section was added as a regular feature. Some publishers feared that the appearance of a condensation would affect the total sales of the original. However, the opposite proved to be true. Wallace offered to pay a publisher five times the usual fee if sales did not increase rather than decrease. Editors who believed in the sales advantages of condensed books often made a practice of sending advance proofs to the Digest's condensed book editors. The condensed book continues as an outstanding feature today. 21 The Reader's Digest Condensed Book Club followed in 1950.

DeWitt and Lila Wallace believed in the Golden Rule, helping the deserving poor and doing good works. 22 It was the founder's philosophy, the magazine's portability, its reader participation, and its pragmatic approach to problem solving that contributed to the Digest's success. 23 Reader's Digest is still telling the world that with hard work, a positive attitude, and a spiritual faith, success is possible.


Notes
1.
William H. Taft, American Magazines for the 1980s ( New York: Hastings House, 1982), p. 156.
2.
Standard Rate and Data Service, Consumers Magazine and Agriculture, 20 September 1987, p. 246.
3.
"50 Largest Companies," Advertising Age, 20 June 1987, p. 59.
4.
Editorial, Reader's Digest, February 1922, p. 1.
5.
Reo M. Christenson, "Report on the Reader's Digest," Columbia Journalism Review, Winter 1965, pp. 30-36.
6.
John Bainbridge, Little Wonder: or, the Reader's Digest and How It Grew ( New York: Reynal, 1945), p. 47.
10.
Kenneth Stewart and John Tebbel, Makers of Modern Journalism ( New York: Prentice-Hall, 1952), p. 442.
11.
Charles W. Ferguson, "Unforgettable DeWitt Wallace," Reader's Digest, February 1988, pp. 178-83.
13.
James Playsted Wood, Of Lasting Interest: The Story of the Reader's Digest, rev. ed. ( Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1967), p. 26.
15.
Taft, p. 56.
16.
"Magazine Circulation and Rate Trends, 1940-1971," Association of National Advertisers ( New York: Association of National Advertisers: Magazine Committee, 1972), pp. 35-45.
17.
"100 Leading Media Companies," Advertising Age, 29 June 1987, p. 559.
18.
Bainbridge, p. 118.
19.
Leo Bogart, "Magazines since the Rise of Television," Journalism Quarterly, Spring 1956, p. 559.

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