Special Issue

Periodicity, Subscription, and Mass Circulation: Mail-Order Book Culture Reconsidered

  • Corinna Norrick-Rühl orcid logo (University of Münster)


Connections between periodical studies and book history run deep. Building on this existing work, this contribution discusses untapped potential at the cross-section of book studies and periodical studies, especially when considering mass-market periodical and book formats. Several popular magazines, among them Psychology Today and Playboycreated book series and even book clubs, expanding their brands and diversifying their income streams. The article offers a case study of the mass-market book club ‘Reader’s Digest Condensed Books’, launched by the magazine Reader’s Digest in the 1950s. This popular club reached millions of households in the second half of the twentieth century and still continues to play a role in the book industry today with the series ‘Reader’s Digest Select Editions’.

Keywords: book clubs, book culture, popular formats, mass-market formats, Reader’s Digest Condensed Books

How to Cite:

Norrick-Rühl, C., (2023) “Periodicity, Subscription, and Mass Circulation: Mail-Order Book Culture Reconsidered”, Journal of European Periodical Studies 7(2), 8–25. doi: https://doi.org/10.21825/jeps.84831

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Published on
08 Feb 2023
Peer Reviewed