Reader’s Digest Condensed Editions?

readers_digest_con_editionI just had these questions in my mind for some time now. How many of you read Reader’s Digest Condensed Editions? Do you think they deteriorate the value of a book? Or that condensing a book could take away the essence of it?

select_editionSome time back I bought a condensed version because it was cheap. Four novels at the price of one was a huge enticement. And that too novels by famous authors. Moreover, it was hardcover and beautifully bound. It was pretty inside too, colorful with beautiful font and all.

I own 2 Reader’s Digest condensed novels, that’s 8 novels, but so far I have read only one novel from them. I’m not scared by Niccolo Ammaniti, which I loved. It was the kind of book I wouldn’t have spent money on, never having heard his name before. But I loved it. I found a new favorite author. I now look forward to reading another novel by him, preferably not condensed.
condensed_novelI think Condensed novels are a great way of getting introduced to new authors without spending too much. I would never buy a James Patterson novel because I can find his books second hand or in a library. Or maybe on an author whom you have heard a lot about but again don’t want to spend too much in case you don’t like him/her.

As conclusion to my ranting I feel Reader’s digest Condensed editions are cheap, a good way to get introduced to new authors and they are hardcover’s, hence long lasting.

There is an entire list on Wikipedia with more than 100 Reader’s Digest Condensed Editions, and all good novels and famous authors too. You can also sign up for a free trial of the book here. (This link is for US, but I’m sure there are links for all parts of the world)

I would love to know your thoughts on this. Would you even give it a try?

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17 thoughts on “Reader’s Digest Condensed Editions?

  1. ok I recently read and reviewed Sam’s letters to Jennifer.. and ther eis one more coming up – Mosaic… i read this both in the reader’s digest condensed version.

    I actually thought it was good, both the books were good… I m glad i read them like this… because i wouldn’t want to read anymore than what i read!

    i think it is gr8! where did u buy them from 🙂

    You know i would love to get them too!

    • These books were offered to Reader’s Digest subscribers for R.s 200. Like a fool I didn’t accept it. I found these books later in Crossword at Rs. 350. Obviously I regreted not accepting the offer but 350 was still good enough 🙂

  2. Readers Diegest condesed novels have virtually no resale value. I get quite a large number through my house as a result of my business, but often throw them away – I can’t even give them away here – even the charity shops refuse to take them. I would love to find someone like you locally to give them too!

    I’m not a fan of condensed books – I am quite happy to give new authors a try without reading just part of their book.

    • oh…I never thought about the resale value. I’m cringing when you say I throw them away

      I wonder why people don’t buy them though. Try selling them to people who don’t read a lot, you might have some luck there.

  3. I don’t even listen to abridged audio books! I have to have the full text. If not I always feel like I’m missing something.
    But I think it’s great that they work for you. I do see how they could be a little like a sampler, and encourage you to read other books by the authors.

  4. Hmmm… I haven’t seen the RD ones but I’ve seen similar in shops. I’ve always shied away from them because if I like it (and I obviously think I might if I’m buying it!) then I’ll probably want to read the full version anyway…

    Abridged versions may be useful for returning to once you’ve read the full version though? Eg. not sure I’m going to read War & Peace again soon, but maybe an abridged version would be a nice easy refresher/reminder…?

  5. My dad had many of these growing up and they are sitting in my parents’ basement gathering dust. Many of the titles I am not interested in, but perhaps dusting a couple off and trying them out is a good idea.

  6. My dad had tons of these when I was a kid and I really enjoyed reading them. They introduced me to many new writers and stories that I would otherwise never have tried. I don’t know that I’d enjoy them as much now but they were a true pleasure when I was a teen.

  7. the avid book lover that i am, the 1st thing i observe when i go to someone’s house is their bookshelf (which, unfortunately is getting smaller and smaller these days). that is how i first chanced upon reader’s digest condensed edition and i read two stories form that one – sam’s letters to jennifer and blood memories. the book also had two other wonderful stories – mosaic and the broker which i intended to read but couldn’t because i had to return the book on time. nevertheless, i became a die hard fan of reader’s digest condensed edition books. i mean, reading is not just about the story, its about an experience and the condensed books just builds up the ambiance so perfectly for that wonderful experience of reading. i have read many wonderful books, but my experience of READING has never been more rich. from that day onwards, i am in a continuous lookout for the books and have so far bought two resale versions and have also asked the shopkeeper of the second hand book stall to reserve any condensed book that he may chance upon for me.

  8. Wow! I LOVE the condensed books… I am an avid reader and a busy person so the Reader’s Digest Condensed books are for me! How accurate the name of the book is, too! I think abridging a book requires literary skill and I often have admired their editors. Good job! Oh occasionally I have tried to read the full length books and now absolutely refuse to. So many authors works are filled up with gunk to make the books uniform is size… RDC books are reverse engineered by people who love stories! If it is valuable it is in there… If you area time conscious (busy) person these books are for you. For the most part their books are not the sleaze of the writing industry but a few I have had to pass over due to my loyalty to God’s standards but they make up for it in variety…

    Thanks for your thoughts on the RDC books, maybe a younger generation will get a chance to broaden their sights. Of course, that probably means they will be reading it on a Kindle! LOL

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