Recently, I brought home a couple of Reader's Digests since we are all avid readers of this publication. They were dated 1996, but I figured they would still have interesting stories, and since the magazines is more about life than current events I didn't mind that they were dated.
But upon bringing them home and starting to read them, I realized how much Reader's Digest has degraded within the last fifteen years. First of all, the older publications used to have the table of contents right on the cover. I remember that this was the only magazine that did this at the time, and it was cool because you didn't have to go flipping through to find what you wanted to read.
Reader's Digest September 1996Second, the older publication is much thicker than the ones they are coming out with today, and contains far more content and far less advertisements. Comparing the older one to one from last month, it was so frustrating to feel that today you are paying a higher price to read a smaller magazine with less content. The paper used to print the magazine is also different today than it was fifteen years ago; the older paper is thicker and much durable, while the new style is glossy but tears easily.
My biggest regret when comparing the older Reader's Digest to the new was to see how many feautures have been removed in the last fifteen years. For example, one of my favorite sections of the magazine are the jokes that people can submit to RD. The olders version has a large amount of jokes pages, including a Campus Humor section that the new editions no longer contain. There was also a section entitiled Real Life Ponderings that just contained quotes from everday that would make people think. Overall, the stories is the older version are longer and more numerous, while the same can be said for the advertisements in the new version.
Reader's Digest September 2011All of these comparisons will not make me stop buying Reader's Digest; I still enjoy reading the up-to-date magazines and wouldn't consider canceling my subscription. But it does make me realize that the quality of magazines today has really taken a sharp decline. And I know that this is not only true for Reader's Digest, but for many other publications as well. All you have to do is look in the attic for an old Time magazine and you will see my point.