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Reader's Digest magazine (US edition) has been a childhood favourite of mine. I read hundreds of editions over the years. I also enjoyed the Canadian editions I read while visiting an Aunt. I happily signed up to their subscription in the UK about 18 months ago. Unfortunately, when it arrived, I found the quality of the magazine lacked the substance and reading material I was used to. I was bored of all the advertisements and poor journalism and barely made it through one complete volume, whereas I used to read them cover to cover. I made the mistake of returning an envelope where I was supposed to get a book offer. I was quickly bombarded by dozens of letters and packages of a ''fantastic prize draw'' or a competetition where I was supposedly ''short-listed'' but you have to return the envelope with the seal to show you're still interested. Although I realized this was a gimmick and didn't pay any notice to them, they kept pouring through, sometimes several letters a week arrived. I chucked them all out, and vowed not to renew my subscription the following year. When the subscription period (1 yr) ended, however, I was sent 2 editions for the following period, followed by a letter demanding I pay the bill for a new year when I did not request it. I returned them and wrote to Reader's Digest several times, in writing and on their website, demanding that they cancel the subscription which I didn't want and did not order. I have yet to get a reply from their Customer Service however, the notices keep coming every week. It appears that if you sign up for one subscription to Reader's Digest UK you are indepted to them for life since you cannot get rid of them. I return all their mail unopened but still the letters keep arriving. The quality of the magazine is not even worth the hassle and sheer harrassment you will get from this bogus company. I was an avid fan for over 20 years but now I am a completely disgruntled and irritated consumer who will never read their magazine again. Buyers beware!
I've subscribed to this magazine for 3 years now, my interest started with my Mum who always took a pile of these on holiday with her and when I ran out of books I'd turn to her stash.
Now I always keep one in my handbag to turn to when I am waiting or queuing. It helps that I am an avid and unfussy reader I think!
This dinky little mag does not disappoint. Every inch of space is used in a creative and engaging way. The stories are upbeat and positive, tales of survival and success so it really has a feel good factor.
There are some regular features like letters page, jokes and humourous tales about life and work but my favourite is the nattily titled "It pays to enrich your word power" where it gives a list of words then a number of possible meanings and you have to choose which you think is right then check the answer on the next page. You read and learn things every month from this book!
Some of the articles are from the US but mainly feature UK people and articles and the research is usually up to date that is within the articles. It signposts to good quality websites and also encourages contributions from its readers so there is a good community feel to it.
Just one word of warning. I sometimes like to read in the bath (doesn't everyone) and if you hands are damp you can get a good carbon reproduction copy of the page on your skin. More temporary than a tattoo, I don't let this stop me though.
I look forward to the RD arriving and I think sometimes its reputation is mixed up with the RD competition prize draws which really are not anything to do with the magazine so don't let this put you off.
Once a month this pint sized magazine arrives through our letter box. Strictly speaking it is actually my Dads but that doesn't stop me from getting to it first.
Sold separately it will cost you £3.49 which admittedly is a bit pricey for something which is only A5 in size. I do believe however, that if you subscribe the cost in lessened a bit.
This mini mag gives a vast amount of subjects and topics for you to get your teeth into. Containing real life stories from all over the world, health tips and reviews I can't understand why a lot of people around me scoff at it!
Things which you can expect to find in each copy of Readers Digest are:
Articles or interviews with somebody famous
The great thing about it is that even though it is small (rarely goes over 170 pages) it provides absoloutly everything, so when you're looking through it you're bound to find something you'll enjoy.
My favourites are the joke pages, sent in my readers, usually they are really bad and you don't come across many gems, a recipe and mini article written by Marco Pierre White and occassionally the true stories.
These are usually very hit and miss with me, for some reason a man defying death to save the planet doesn't appeal to me as much as a man who couldn't smell (both featured in this months copy) In saying that some other trivial stuff like swimming with dolphins (to me) completely uninterests me. So although there is a wide variety of them it is all down to personal taste.
Despite how many articles, stories and all that you get there is an awful lot of adverts as well. So if you're thinking about dying your hair, cleaning your clothes, want knee surgery, a tiffany lamp or just feel the need to improve your English then flick through the Readers Digest and you're sure to find some random offering.
They are not all up to the same standard and on a few occassions I have found myself missing out most of the pages but overall it is a nifty little magazine which is handy in size. Easy enough to store away for a bit of light reading.
Reader's Digest- is tarred with the image of being associated with the infamous Reader's Digest Prize Draw- so firstly let me ask you to put that out of your mind and just hear about what I am saying regarding it's magazine content. According to it's own promotion it is Britain' best selling monthly and to be honest that is no surprise. It is on a par or cheaper than other monthly magazines, but I would say it is packed with more content. The fact that it fits very neatly into a briefcase or handbag adds to it's appeal. I have just picked up one of my copies as a guide and it has 180 pages containing 14 in depth articles, many being on serious issues, and 16 regular features on issues such as health, travel and relationships. There are pictures but they take up much less space than the words- which may sound like an odd thing to say- but when you pick up another magazine- watch how much they fill their space with visual content. Throughout the magazine there are smaller amusing or anecdotal fillers and reader's contributions. So I would recommend it as a very good and informative read.
I have always enjoyed reading Reader's Digest - they have a lot of interesting articles, a condensed story, plus numerous areas of jokes, wordpower, etc where people can actually submit and earn some money from. Reader's Digest is actually a pretty good payer if you are lucky enough to get something you have written, into their pages. My problem with them is .... once they have your name - they will not let you go! They will bombard you with junk mail for every book they ever publish, for their sweepstakes, and their condensed books series. It gets to being so annoying, and for the amount they spend on this ton of junk mail they could maybe cut the price of the mag a bit.
There is a wealth of info in each one, heart-rending tales of animal and human heroes and heroines, overcoming all sorts of obstacles. Reader's Digest really is a good magazine. They spoil it though by their over zealous mailing campaigns.
I, like Suzan, also enjoy their condensed books but have collected most of mine from jumble sales and car boot sales over the years. They are excellent, and the selections are usually quite different from each other in content. I don't think 'd subscribe to them though, but that's jsut me.
I won't subscribe to the magazine anymore either, I'll buy it off the shelf at the local supermarket and keep my mailbox free of the junk mail.
As a young child I remember my father reading stories from the Readers Digest, the ones he read to us children were usually about miraculous escapes from tornadoes, blizzards or floods, and generally had some sort of Christian tone to it.
I used to love my bed-time stories, even though some of them kept me up at night as I dreamed of rafting the Amazon, or trekking the Serengeti.
So when at my local library I saw this on display I jumped at the chance to relive my childhood as well as read some great stories that I had remembered being enthralled by.
Well it took me about one second to open the magazine, but then another 30 as I thumbed through the many hundreds of advertisements that seemed to make up the majority of the magazine. Finally I found the first main article and was pleasantly surprised when I found myself reading about the narrow escape from a sharks jaw, it almost did sound like the same magazine that I had remembered.
That issue didn't improve much from there though, the rest of the articles I found a little boring and although there was some great joke sections, that had me perking up, the other articles features stories like, how they made a horse for a play out of wire, and how bionic legs are the new great discovery. Not quite up my alley I'm afraid.
I guess I just have to accept that things change and it wont be the same as you remembered as a kid, thankfully the next issue I got was more interesting.
For those of you who don't know anything about Readers Digest, I will now go through the different things you can find in there, in no particular order.
Inspiring true Stories.
Articles about famous people
Plenty of advertising.
Ok I admit that's not a comprehensive list, but its just an idea of the different things you find in RD, its basically a great A5 magazine that fits in your purse without hassle, and will entertain you better then the latest gossip magazines (I think gossip magazines a big waste of time, so you might not agree with me on that point).
Some issues will naturally be more exciting then others, but they all tend to have the same combination of true stories, articles, interviews, recipes and humor. I like the fact that it is in a small size, and therefore easy to read discreetly and keep in your purse or bag while traveling.
I am giving it four stars for content, but minus one for the excessive advertising, which tend to be about boring things like hearing aids.
We could'nt get RD to cancel a subscription so we sent newspapers cut to size in a LARGE envelope addressed for the personal attention of the "chairman of board of directors" and a letter promising a similar envelope with no stamps EVERY week till they cancelled ---- worked a treat, got a reply and an apology and magazine stopped within four weeks!!!!!!!!
Ordering a subscription is so frustrating - especially for a gift.
Recently, my mother encountered telephone 'customer service advisers' who she couldn't understand (Indian call center?) and the web site won't allow you to have a delivery address different to the billing address.
I've tried emailing them for her (she is really quite annoyed that I am having to sort out my own gift!) and they will only offer a 9 month subscription. And despite not even having the credit cards details yet, they are really really keen on getting the address of the recipient (hmm... sounds like a spam scam?)
I've had a look on the web and other companies are offering subscriptions to the mag. I think that I'll bypass RD and go to a third party. They may charge slightly more but hopefully they will have better customer service and surely can't send the deluge of spam for which RD is notorious.
Rating - the mag *****
- the service no stars
- overall 4 stars but only if you can avoid the actual company!
I bought a readers digest family medical adviser book a few years ago and i found it very useful i have since been geting scratch card prize draws from them and never won anything from them until recentley i phoned my wining code number to them and was told i had won a med cruise for 4 people i was told they would let me know by the first of february what this included it is now the 26TH of february and i am still waiting i think these scratch cards are a bit of a scam as i have other reviews and nobody seems to win anything so my advise is if you receive anything from readers digest bin it i tried to ring them but no number i think they should be put out of buisness
Reader's Digest has been around for many years and I used to be a subscriber, but became fed up of being the target for their Prize Draws and other offers. Therefore, I now buy the magazine from W H Smiths, where it is issued monthly.
The magazine is small enough to slip into your handbag or pocket and is good for reading while you travel on the bus or train, or other places where you have to spend some time waiting around, but don't want to get into too much in depth reading.
The articles in the Reader's Digest are usually varied and interesting, on topics from health to crime to real life survival and nature. Something for everyone really.
There are also amusing anecdotes which are sent in by contributors. These are under different headings, such as Laughter the Best Medicine and All in a day's work. If you are interested in submitting to Reader's Digest, be warned competition is very fierce and you need to look on their website and read the guidelines carefully.
I used to work with someone who was scathing about this little magazine and once commented about someone else "she has a reader's digest intelligence." I asked her to expand on this and she explained the woman had a smattering of knowledge on lots of topics. Well, this magazine helps to broaden your knowledge on a variety of topics, which I personally think is a good thing.
Regarding the offers that are available from Readers Digest, I have taken advantage of several of these in the past. I have bought CDs and books, all at competitive prices and very useful. In particular I have a travel book about the British Isles which is a mine of useful information when travelling around on holiday etc. It has maps and gives details of places of interest and is well set out in areas. I have had this book a few years now and it is well used and was well worth the twenty quid or something I paid for it.
The only downside with Reader's Digest is, as mentioned earlier, the amount of junk mail you get from them once they get your address details! I am sure there are people who win in their "Prize Draws" but despite years of entering them myself I never won so much as a free pen!!!
However, if you want a magazine that is interesting, suitable for everyone, informative on lots of things, compact and reasonably priced, then look out for this in your local newsagents.
I do hope Ive caught your attention because its a long time since Readers Digest has been reviewed on the site and Ive found a great difference in their earlier service. I first joined Readers Digest about ten years ago when I decided to try to win one of their prize draws, obviously I didnt, I wouldnt be here now if Id scooped the grand prize. Unlucky is my middle name, the only prize Ive ever won is a cheap bottle of wine in my local pubs Xmas draw. At the time I entered my numbers I signed up to the Digests book service with a free book that has over the years proved to be invaluable, Im talking about the Family Health Guide which was then retailing at about £15.
Unfortunately I had signed an agreement to accept four books over a one-year period. At that time I was still working and it didnt seem much to pay. My first book was an omnibus and I considered it as good value for money, but suddenly books I hadnt ordered started to arrive and I got fed up of having to send them all back.
Eventually I tried to cancel my membership, but it took a lot of effort (and much cursing on my part), to get them to accept my cancellation, even though I had fulfilled my part of the deal. I know that other people have had similar experiences in the past and its put them off for life.
I felt much the same when I received an invitation by e-mail to subscribe to the monthly magazine back in September 2005. My first thoughts were to ignore it completely but I decided to look at the offer anyway. Once again I thought about that grand prize and the half-price subscription to the magazine seemed reasonable to me. The normal price is £42 but I only paid £21 for the year with a written guarantee along with my first free magazine that I could cancel my membership at any time. I felt much more confident about paying my money and I was allowed a month after receiving my first magazine to pay in full.
What is Readers Digest?
Many people may have picked up a copy in a doctors or dentists waiting room and leafed idly through it without knowing much about it. Its a handy-sized magazine about A4 size, which can be carried around in a ladies handbag or slipped into a mans pocket. Originally a USA publication, it is available in thirty different countries, but the edition Im reviewing is the British one. For more information on the international publications visit their website at RD publications.
Since the very first publication in 1922 Readers Digest has gone on to become one of the most widely read magazines in the USA and eventually the UK. The secret of its success is mainly due to its unchanged format, non-political, not controversial and condensing stories into bite-sized readable articles it appeals mainly to an older age group; about 30+ would be my own guess going by the content of the magazine. The British magazine claims to be Britains best selling monthly although I cant find actual figures on this, Im more interested in the magazine itself.
The policy of staying true to a tried and tested format seems to work well, although some readers may find this a bit too bland for their tastes. If I want to read about politics Ill read the newspapers and watch relevant programmes on TV. I prefer a magazine that will both entertain me and offer a wide range of articles on different subjects.
So whats on offer this month?
The cover stories are as follows: The new way to lose weight, an in-depth interview with George Clooney, Casualty Drama you wont believe, Hero of the Year and an exclusive poll on Is the British Family Dead? Not exactly mind-grabbing but far better than a magazine stuffed full of womens adverts and the latest in celebrity scandals.
The first page I always turn to is word power, fifteen unusual words with a choice of definitions. I love words so testing myself on my understanding is a bit of an ego-boost. I normally manage to get about 90% correct and this is rated as good. Depending on the highlights I choose to read what first grabs my attention. In this case its one of the lead stories, an operation carried out for the 1st time on a live patient, a teenager in a near-fatal accident whose head had been nearly been severed from his body.
I do my light reading in the morning after a cup of coffee and before breakfast so after reading one article I skip about reading the humorous fillers between the main articles. I love a good laugh and Im always on the lookout for the type of humour that readers send in. The Digest pays between £60 and £100 for these articles and as a would-be writer its one of the things that I study carefully wondering whether I can come up with a humorous anecdote.
If I already have a book on the go the Digest is something I can read without getting too absorbed in my book. Im disabled and unable to work so it can be very tempting to stay in my nightclothes and read all day. I still have housework to do and the occasional trip to the shops so diving headfirst into my current book is delaying the inevitable. This is where the Digest comes in, I can read a few articles without getting completely absorbed but this month there are quite a few things that capture me. Im really interested in the way to lose weight and comparing it to the new television programme hosted by Paul McKenna, there are many similarities and Im wondering if this was timed to coincide with the show?
There are fifteen articles in all and the bonus read about an American serial murderer, this can keep me going for the best part of the month along with reading and writing reviews.
I quickly scan the medical pages, which bring the latest discoveries to ordinary people. This month its particularly relevant to me with an article on heartburn (I take medication every day for this) and another on heart attacks that I want to skip but since its a family problem I read on. Im dying to read the piece about George Clooney but put it aside for another day, there are dishes to wash and washing and ironing. Theres a special report on a very courageous lady who is fighting for the rights of oppressed women in the Islamic community both in the UK and in Iran. This is a topic close to my heart so I need to give myself time to read it properly. This is only part of Januarys issue but the beauty of it is that I can put it down and pick it up when I have the time.
Whats in it for the average reader?
The Digest never skimps on quality and tries to present a wide range of articles to suit many tastes, men and women both and people of different age groups. There are always a few interviews with celebrities but nothing scandalous or aimed at people who are only interested in the latest gossip. There is usually a hard-hitting article on social issues, a real life story about people surviving against all odds, (current news stories,) the unsung heroes who risk life and limb in the most appalling conditions and various other stories of interest.
Past issues have included heroes such as Frank Gardener, the BBC correspondent who refused to die even after being shot six times. A soldier who was moved by the plight of a young girl caught up in the war in Afghanistan with such horrific burn injuries she couldnt even eat. Advice on money problems and easy ways to cut fuel bills. Another worrying article about the safety of prescribed medication, tips on dieting and healthy meals and, of course, those light-hearted page fillers that make you laugh.
At about 160 pages this is excellent value for money and has that advantage of being small enough to carry around. Big savings can be made on the Internet at the moment (the current offer is £13.95 instead of the £42 annual subscription) I wish I had waited until now!
So far I havent been pestered into buying any of the other services that Readers Digest provide, I get my magazine through the post every month and nothing else.
This is a big improvement on the service, which put so many people off subscribing to it, and if it continues in this way Ill be renewing my subscription when this one runs out. Itll be interesting to see if loyal customers will get a similar deal on renewal, somehow I doubt this will happen but it does look like the Digest are finally cleaning up their act.
This will come as good news to the many people who have been missing out on a magazine that stimulates the mind and keeps on producing new and interesting stories.
So Im cautiously giving this the full five stars and hoping that I wont be let down in the future. I like a magazine that doesnt pander to current trends. I dont think there is anything wrong with the usual glossies but at my age they no longer appeal to me. I want a tried and trusted magazine that packs a bit of a punch. Readers Digest gives me what I expect from past experiences and fills that gap between a full novel when I need to plan my time.
For people on the go it provides a handy read for when you havent got time for anything else, its also ideal for long train and plane journeys.
As a subscriber there are additional free features on the Internet site that I havent used yet. Im also pleased to read about a new service, Your own Talking Magazine for the blind and visually impaired. Annual subscriptions start at £30 and entitle you tapes from other publications. Has the Digest finally got it right, I would like to think so?
Happy Reading and as always thanks for reading my review.
© Lisa Fuller. Jan 2006.
RD boys, don't make me sick - again! - Advantages: Anglo-American editions are better than Russian one, Respectful in terms of its content and "tone", May be entertaining and educative at times - Disadvantages: Utterly aggressive in terms of its commercial policies (in Russia, at least), RD boys and girls may play dishonest tricks with you. Take care, watch your step., By and large, too boring.
I have just been the victim of a sales scam. I subscribed to the magazine and then cancelled it. I then entered a Readers Digest prize draw and was sent a free book. I then called to cancel the subscription. Because I only had a prepay mobile phone, I have no record of that call. Shortly after I had to move out of my home at short notice. Usual story - the name of the person I spoke to has been lost in the move. The next thing I know is my old landlord and their new tenant are annoyed with me because parcels are arriving and being dumped on the doorstep. They deliberately use a courier because you cannot put it back in Royal Mail as undelivered. My old landlord writes to Readers Digest telling them to collect the parcel. They fail to do this. The next thing I know is they have instructued a debt collection agency, who contact me at the new address, demanding payment for the parcel. When I speak to them they inform me it is not their client's fault and too late to return the parcel. Apparently, they inform me, the law sees it their way because I cannot prove I cancelled the subscription. The moral of the story is get a name and put it in your diary or, better still, put it in writing and keep a copy in a safe. The best way to avoid this miserable state of affairs is to bin all correspondence from companies that operate in this way and do not be tempted in by prize draw offers or free books. They rely on people paying up to avoid all the hassle. It is totally hypocritical in my view to offer consumer advice and then use underhand tactics to make sales. At the very least, they should not leave parcels on the doorstep unless a customer requests it - I shudder to think what their response is when goods are stolen.
As a fairly hip 21 year old(or possibly dodgy hip), you can imagine my horror when I received a copy of Readers Digest through my door last week. They called me 'Mrs' which was disturbing enough for starters, so I threw it away. Two days later, I received a second copy, still with the 'Mrs' afflication, which then sat in my study to remind myself to ring them and tell them to stop. The final nail in the coffin came when two more days later I received a BILL! I was quite unaware that people actually paid for the thing, but this was the last straw because I had never ordered it in the first place. So it was time to call up. My first call reached a surly young woman who asked for my customer number. First mistake, since I did not consider myself to be a customer at all, I asked her to look me up by name and postcode. Funnily enough though, I did not appear on their system (see Royal Mail opinion) and she asked me to call back when I had the bill in front of me. Fair enough. On the second occasion, I was happily surpised by a very enthusiastic young man who completely sympathised with me and proceeded to tell me that the magazine had been ordered for me by Tiscali. Who?, I said. 'When you signed up to them, they ordered it for you at a discounted rate.' Look, I know I have the occasional bouts of amnesia, but I do not recall signing up to Tiscali. Young man helpfully suggested that I take it up with Tiscali and tell them off. He then went on to cancel my subscripton, told me not to worry any there were any other bills in the post and, the final sweetner, to keep the copy I had received (and not binned) with their compliments. Excellent customer service. Very cute. Young man nearly ruined my perfect customer service experience by trying to sell me something else,but I politely declined and told him to have a nice day. Incidentally, the magazine still sits unopened by my side,
and if I get five minutes to myself I may partake in a spot of light reading. Bt we'll see.
You have probably heard the quip: “The person who said that nothing is impossible has obviously never tried to cancel a Readers’ Digest subscription!”And it is true that once you have made a purchase from Readers’ Digest, they cling tighter than a leech on a septic wound. But hold on…I’m about to say something nice about them! I have for some time now been subscribing to the Readers’ Digest Condensed Books and I have to say, hand on heart, that I have enjoyed every volume so far. The titles chosen for this series are varied enough for there to be something to please every reader, and you may surprise yourself. I have never been much of a Crime fan, for instance, but I loved “The Visitor” by Lee Child, about a serial killer who leaves no forensic evidence at the crime scenes. Another title I thoroughly enjoyed was “The Bombmaker” by Stephen Leather, about a reformed IRA bombmaker, whose past comes back to haunt her when her former masters kidnap and threaten to kill her young daughter – unless she makes them another bomb! “Relative Strangers” is about a devoted husband and wife whose marriage is threatened when a blood test seems to reveal that their teenage daughter, Gaby, could not possibly have been fathered by the husband – though his wife is adamant that she has never been unfaithful. “Beneath The Skin”, by Nicci French, is a gripping psychological thriller about three young women who have nothing in common – except that the same man wants to kill them. I found this one totally unputdownable! “Edith’s Book”, by Edith Velmans, is the remarkable story of a carefree thirteen-year-old girl growing up in The Hague during the War.As the Nazis campaign against the Jews intensifies, Edith and her family are forced to go into hiding. A superb and poignant novel. These are just a few examples of
the titles in the series and I hope that they will show the varied genres on offer in the Condensed Books titles. The books are skilfully condensed and lose nothing in the process. (I have gone on to read the full-length versions of some, and remain impressed by the condensed versions.) Each volume of Condensed Books contains four titles and is in hardback format. Each edition is priced at £16.97,which includes postage. I think that is excellent value. Readers’ Digest also tempts you with little presents, which are nice but the books themselves are enough, really. (Although I did enjoy the little pack of Thornton’s Continental choccies I recently received.) If you subscribe you will receive a volume of Condensed Books every two months or so, although you are under no obligation to continue with them…but my guess is that you will want to. Readers’ Digest is online at www.readersdigest.co.uk And their registered office is: 11,Westferry Circus Canary Wharf London E14 4HE Finally...apologies for this being,strictly speaking,in the magazine category but I was unsure where else to put it.Grovel,plead,whinge....