I started reading Reader's Digest about 35 years ago. My grandmother had a subscription, and she kept every copy in a headboard bookcase in her spare bedroom. When we visited, I would lay back on the bed and read through them one by one. I loved the stories, the articles, the anecdotes.
When I moved out of my parents' house, the first thing my mother did was get me a subscription to Reader's Digest. Since 1991, our family has looked forward to receiving the little package in the mail, and once our kids were old enough to read, it became a battle to be the first to read it.
I've watched the format of the magazine change over the years, with no small amount of trepidation. At first, the changes were small and easily adjusted to. Unfortunately, over the last year I have seen the number of pages devoted to advertising grow to alarming numbers.
My boys are now in high school and college. They grew up reading Reader's Digest every month, and fighting over the copy when it came. That stopped this year. Neither of them are interested anymore, and when asked the reasons they gave were simple: too many ads, and every issue is apparently the same (primarily, 10 things someone won't tell you--which was interesting the first ten or so times, but has since lost its appeal).
My last issue was the last straw for us. The articles, what there were of them, were small and poorly written. Quite honestly, I've seen blurbs on book jackets that were more detailed. Worse, I had to flip through four or five pages of ads to get to each article...sometimes even to get to the second page of the article I was reading.
My mother has maintained this gift subscription for me because she knew how much I've loved the publication. She renewed it for Christmas again this year, so I have one more year of receiving it. If the publication format doesn't improve--which would mean a return to the high quality of the articles, and a more reasonable advertising ratio--it will be my last.
This is the letter I sent to what had been my favorite publication of all time. Ever have something that you loved all through your childhood and teenage years (and even into your adulthood), changed beyond any recognition?