Editor’s Note: Read Up!

Editor-in-Chief Liz Vaccariello announces a remarkable redesign for America's most trusted magazine.

By Liz Vaccariello
Also published in Reader's Digest Magazine January 2014

editor's letter lizI just asked my friend Steve to tell me his favorite things to read. Here is his answer: “I like to read my bank statement on payday. I love to read personal e-mails. I read Hemingway’s short stories when I need a touchstone for writing, and I read newspapers because I always have. I love to read Reader’s Digest because it’s endlessly inventive. [Thanks, but I wasn’t fishing.] And I have a book of David Letterman’s Top 10 Lists that I’ve read over and over again and turn to when I need a laugh.”

Does your list reflect the same desire for tradition and discovery, amusement and enrichment? I know mine does. As we redesigned Reader’s Digest, we aimed that high. The makeover debuts with this month’s issue (as does our new mobile app).

Here’s what we changed and why.

Let’s start with the logo, which now enhances the first word in our title: Reader’s. It broadcasts our commitment to reading and emphasizes whom we put first. Every change we made aims to improve your experience while reading our magazine.

How about our new cover look? We decided to stop trying to grab your attention in the supermarket checkout line. Instead, we were inspired by the table of contents that graced RD’s covers for decades and better highlights the uniqueness of what we are—a tidy collection of uplifting true stories, family-friendly humor, and surprising and useful information. We are creators, and we are finders, filtering the endless amount of material available to all of us, all the time. We hope our cover reflects this and welcomes you by appearing smart, timeless, and collectible. And don’t miss this—the subscriber cover designed as a removable bookmark so you can save your place in our pages.

You cheer when we share stories that reflect the power of humanity and the extraordinary accomplishments of ordinary people, so there’s more of that. You applaud coverage of social affairs and crave a variety of voices and views—thus a new section was born. We organized everything into easy-to-follow categories with some familiar names (Art of Living) and fresh ones (Who Knew?), with a robust section of features at the center.

We decided to improve our mix of story lengths and styles: You’ll get longer reads when a tale needs to be told, briefer pieces when the point can be made quickly. We’ll run essays when a writer has a thought-provoking point to make, and lists when they are the fastest way to impart information. And, of course, this wouldn’t be Reader’s Digest if we didn’t break up all the seriousness with some fun—shareable jokes, witty one-liners at the end of some articles, and beautiful photographs that tell stories themselves.

We invested in paper that’s whiter and thicker because that makes the type easier to read and the pages easier to turn. We refined the design, introducing simpler graphics, iconic photography, and more modern illustration. In our pages, the stories shine.

Over the years, you’ve told us that we ran too many ads and that they overshadowed the editorial content. Our business team took a bold step to address this by setting a limit on the number of advertising pages we will accept. We’re also asking advertisers more for the privilege of being in RD, and we are delighted to discover that our best partners want to be among more exclusive company in the pages you read so closely.

The holidays always remind me that experiences make better gifts than things. I hope we’ve offered you the ultimate reading experience. We want to earn every cent of your dollar. If you think we’re worth it, spread the word. Better yet, treat those you love to subscriptions of their own (rd.com/subscribe). Happy New Year.

—Liz, @LizVacc, Liz@rd.com

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