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Reader’s Digest Shuts-One Reading Imprint-Sells Fundraising Unit

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August 14 – 21, 2008 Edition

Reader’s Digest Shuts
One Reading Imprint;
Sells Fundraising Unit

PLEASANTVILLE, NY/8/14/2008–Facing competition from the Internet for nonfiction readers, Readers Digest has announced it will shut down its Today’s Best Nonfiction line in February 2009. The company, which has published the line since 1989, will continue to publish other lines in its Reading Series, including Select Editions, The Best Mysteries of All Time, and The World’s Best Reading in the U.S. These lines remain a highly profitable part of the business, according to a spokesperson. Sales at TBN have lagged in recent years, making the closing necessary.

Also, last week, The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc. and Time Inc. agreed that Time would acquire QSP, the RDA’s fundraising company for schools and youth groups. The $110 million cash deal must pass regulatory approval. Mary Berner, president and chief executive officer of RDA, said the move was "consistent with our strategy to focus on our core competencies, which include growing our portfolio of publishing businesses and building mutli-platform communities of customers based on our branded content."

Time Inc. sees fundraising as a growing area for subscriptions across the magazine publishing industry and envisions benefits to operating QSP’s large direct-selling force in North America. Time Chairman and CEO Ann S. Moore said her company has "strong expertise in consumer marketing that will allow the company to serve the publishing industry and schools in need of fundraising assistance. 

 Back at RD’s US Reading Series, Jim Menick has been named executive editor of the Reading Series, reporting to Harold Clarke, president and publisher, Books, Music and Trade Publishing in the RD Community group. He succeeds vice president and global editor-in-chief Laura Kelly in her U.S. management responsibilities. The global position will be eliminated, and Kelly will leave the company in September, after a transition period. Joe McGrath, TBN’s managing editor, is also leaving the company along with senior editor Barbara Clark. Gary Arpin, executive editor, Select Editions International Editions, remains in his international role, reporting to Clarke. He will also manage the Global Reading Series rights department, which will be headed by Carol Staudter.  

Today’s Best Nonfiction, once a star of the company’s direct-mail condensed fiction series, Select Editions, published more than 400 nonfiction books. It’s authors have included Stephen Ambrose,Colin Powell, Christopher Reeve, and Walter Isaacson. 

The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc., is a global multi-brand media and marketing company that educates, entertains and connects audiences around the world.  With offices in 45 countries, it markets books, magazines, music and video products that reach a customer base of 100 million households in 79 countries.  It publishes 92 magazines, including 50 editions of Reader’s Digest , the world’s largest-circulation magazine, operates 65 branded websites generating 18 million unique visitors per month, and sells approximately 68 million books, music and video products across the world each year.  Its global headquarters are in Pleasantville, N.Y.

Time Inc., a Time Warner company, is one of the largest content companies in the world.  With 24 magazines and 26 websites in the United States, it is the country’s largest publisher.  Each month, one out of every two American adults reads a Time Inc. magazine, and one out of every seven who are online visits a company website (more than 25 million monthly unique visitors).  Time Inc.’s popular brands and successful franchises extend to online, television, cable VOD, satellite radio, mobile devices, events and branded products.