Readers Digest is a multi-brand and multi-platform media and direct marketing company that reaches 145 million customers worldwide through a combination of print, digital and DRTV products. Products include books, music, video, advertising, and 86 separate magazines, with offices in 45 countries and customers in 79 countries representing 30 bransds and 86 magazines.

Readers Digest re-emerged from a 2009 bankruptcy filing in February 2010, when the company’s UK subsidiary filed for administration, and RD allowed it to deconsolidate. In January 2010, RD sold CompassLearning, its educational software division. However, in early 2013 Reader’s Digest began to restructure its debt and again filed for bankruptcy.

According to a 2012 company report, books account for 36.5% of RDA’s revenues, with 32.8% coming from magazine subscriptions and newsstand sales, 10.5 % from music and videos, and 9.2% from magazine advertising.

This ranking only includes book publishing revenues, which were extracted from recent company filings. No figures for were available for 2013 after the bankruptcy filing.

Analysis & Key Developments

Ownership, Mergers & Acquisition, Internal Organization

After Readers Digest re-entered Chapter 11 protection in February 2013, the court approved RDA's restructuring plan to reduce its debt burden from 500 million USD to 100 million USD. The plan called for a debt-to-equity conversion.

RDA emerged from Chapter 11 under new ownership. Reader’s Digest was sold for just 1 GBP by Better Capital to a venture capitalist.

President and CEO Robert E. Guth was named Chairman of the Board of Directors and Bonnie Kintzer was named President and CEO of The Reader’s Digest Association.

Reader's Digest Children's Publishing was renamed Studio Fun International to reflect its direction toward interactive books.


RDA finalized licensing agreements with RD France in French Belgium, SAPE in Finland and Sweden, and Tarsago Media Group in Poland, Romania and Hungary. RDA agreed to license RD Mexico to Ediciones Culturales Internacionales and RD Argentina and RD Chile to Bellerofon Media. Reader’s Digest UK is licensed to Regest Ltd.

Earlier Developments

Ownership, Mergers & Acquisition, Internal Organization

After several weak quarter results, Reader’s Digest filed for bankruptcy in early 2013 for the second time in the last four years. RD will convert roughly 465 million USD to equity, leaving the company with approximately 100 million USD in debt when it emerges from bankruptcy, which it anticipates in about six months.

Staff at Reader’s Digest's U.K. business book division are among the 95 employees who have been laid off.

For this ranking, revenues reported from the first three quarters of 2012 are supplemented with fourth quarter estimates based on previous years.


Of the 78 countries RDA operates in, the most significant by revenue are Australia, Germany, and France, with 78.9% of RDA’s combined international revenue from books, music, videos, and nonpublished product sales and 21.1% from magazines, website circulation, and advertising. For the year ending December 31, 2011, Europe generated net revenue and operating income of 568.8 million USD and 27.5 million USD, respectively, and Asia Pacific & Latin America generated net revenue and operating income of 245.6 million USD and $15.5 million USD, respectively.

Outside of North America, RDA is selling books in 33 countries, music products in 34 countries and video products in 30 countries. Select Editions, RDA’s largest open-ended reading series, appears in 17 languages and is sold in 31 countries. Other reading series and illustrated series are also marketed internationally. Reading series books are published in five languages and sold in 13 countries outside of North America, while illustrated series books are published in seven languages and sold in 16 countries.

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