- 1936: For the first time Fortune revealed RD circulation was 1.8 million, the largest ever achieved by a 25-cent magazine, save for Hearst's Good Housekeeping.
In WWII circulation jumped from under 4 million to more than 9 million.
In 1963, 130 railroad cars hauled paper to the printer each month to print RD. Every printing of RD used 75,000 pounds of glue, 110,000 pounds of ink.
If you stacked the August 1963 RD issues atop each other, they would tower upward for 189 miles. Laid end to end the issues would stretch 2,841 miles.In 1943 five buses transported employees between HQ and home. By 1963 as many as 30 were in service. In 1960 an average of 1241 passengers rode every day. The largest number of Digesters carried by bus came from Peekskill. The fare was 20 cents one way.
- Cafeteria food prices were the lowest of any major company dining room in the area. The average check was 65 cents, compared to $1.55 at other big companies in the area.
- In FY73 RD used some 387,000 gallons of oil for heat at HQ. In FY74 RD used 275,000 gallons, a decrease of 29%--credited in large part to RD employees who cooperated in heat-reduction and electricity-reduction programs. Despite that, RD spent $130,000 more in FY74, a jump of 77 % due to soaring costs of fuel oil.
Condensed Books, printed at Curtis Publishing Co., required 12,000 tons of paper per year. This is 59,000 miles of paper, 67 inches wide, enough to go around the earth twice.
- After 5 years, CB Book Club had 1.5 million members, making it the largest book club in the world.
- 1992: RD had 7400 employees in 50+ editions worldwide.
- Advertising first appeared in Mar 1955: Within 2 wks of opening sales for ads RD had orders for 1107 pages of ads, more than 3 times the number it could accept for the entire first year. Before a single issue containing ads had appeared, $11 million in space had been placed.
- Out of a circulation of 10 million-plus, there were exactly 42 subs cancellations in the first half-year after the Digest began accepting ads.
By 1980 the combined wealth of DeWitt and Lila was reported to be a half-billion dollars.
- Statistical compilation of the amount of work that went on during the 12 weeks prior to publication of a single RD issue: Staff read 1,000 articles for pickup, 2,500 unsolicited manuscripts, and 20,000 to 30,000 department contributions, 6,000 published excerpts and 10 to 20 books.
- Lila spent more than $8 million on Boscobel, said to be a sum exceeded only by her gifts to the Metropolitan Musuem of Art and by what her husband had given to Macalester College.
- Over 35 years the couple contributed nearly $50 million to Macalester College, for many years the largest gift from a single source to any American college in the history of the U.S.
By 1993, one of every two households in the U.S. was already in the company database. The worldwide database held 100 million households, which RD did not sell or rent.
- In 1993, just 25 percent of corporate revenues came from RD magazine.
- The U.S. company pioneered sweepstakes as a direct marketing promotion in 1962. By 1993, more than four million entrants to the RD Sweepstakes had won prizes totaling more than $250 million worldwide.
- May 1992: Spelman College, Atlanta, received the largest gift ever awarded to a black college up to that time--$37 million from a special fund established by the DeWitt Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund.
- March 1994: 10-billionth copy of US Reader's Digest is published.
- Finland edition of RD launched June 1945. The first printing was 50,000, second 75,000, and third 100,000, all sold out in a week.