Listings to follow…
Readers Digest is a publishing and marketing company head-quartered in the United States. Their Australian operation is based in Sydney.
Readers Digest compilations date back to at least the 1950s, and were available by mail-order only to ‘members’. They were albums in the true sense of the word. Each “book” of ten records was bound in heavy cardboard. Each collection of records was based on a theme. Of the dozen or so sets I have seen the cover proudly boasts that the recordings were made by RCA.
By the 1970s the book style album format was changed to a box with each of the eight records having a tabbed sleeve. Many of the sets of this period were also available as sets of cassettes.
The Readers Digest sets continued on into the 2000s, by this stage being issued on Compact Disc. They are still being issued. Anyone for 80 Classic Duets?
In contrast to other RCA Australian pressings that are to say the least of variable quality, Readers Digest issues are of high quality. This was probably due the limited number of tracks on each side of the record.
Unfortunately the Readers Digest collections’ packaging is large, heavy, and cumbersome, particularly the book type albums. Early collections are generally classical music by now obscure conductors, and have not stood the test of time. Later boxed sets and CDs can have some memorable music, but it is not hard to find this material on multiple other sources.