Digest size is a magazine size, smaller than a conventional or "journal size" magazine but larger than a standard paperback book, approximately 5½ x 8¼ inches, but can also be 5⅜ x 8⅜ inches and 5½ x 7½ inches.[1] These sizes have evolved from the printing press operation end. Some printing presses refer to digest-size as a "catalog size," such as that used by Avon Products when selling house to house. The digest format was considered to be a convenient size for readers to tote around or to leave on the coffee table within easy reach.

The most famous digest-sized magazine is Reader's Digest, from which the size appears to have been named.[2] TV Guide also used the format from its inception in 1953 until 2005. CoffeeHouse Digest is a national magazine distributed free-of-charge at coffeehouses throughout the United States. Bird Watcher's Digest is an international magazine which has retained the digest size since its creation in 1978.

Digest size is less popular now than it once was. Besides TV Guide dropping it in favor of a larger format, the Analog and Asimov's science fiction magazines had switched to a format slightly larger than digest size several years earlier. The main publications remaining in digest size now are Reader's Digest and some Archie comics digests. Children's Digest was originally in digest size but switched long ago to a larger format as well (though keeping the word "Digest" in its name). Writer's Digest is another publication with the word in its name that is not actually produced at that size.

Science fiction digests

Since the 1950s it has also been used by several science fiction magazines[3] including:

Comics digests

From the late 1960s on, several comic book publishers put out "comics digests," usually about 6¾ x 4 inches. Gold Key Comics produced three digest titles that lasted until the mid-1970s: Golden Comics Digest, Mystery Comics Digest, and Walt Disney Comics Digest. DC Comics produced several in the early 1980s (including DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest and The Best of DC), and Harvey Comics also published a few during the same time (including Richie Rich Digest Magazine). Archie Comics has published numerous comics digests since the 1970s, and in the 2000s Marvel Comics has produced a number of digests, primarily for reprint editions.

The manga graphic novel format is similar to digest size, although slightly narrower and generally thicker.

The A5 paper size used by many UK fanzines is slightly wider and taller than digest size.

In Italy, Topolino's Disney Comics title has been published in the format since 1949, inspired by Reader's Digest (which was also published by Arnoldo Mondadori Editore).[4]

The format is widely used in comics published in France, Brazil, Mexico, Spain and more countries.[5]


  1. Drake, David; Flint, Eric; Baen, Jim. The World Turned Upside Down. Baen Books, 2006.
  2. John Clute and David Langford, ed. "Digest". The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. Gollancz. Retrieved 2011-12-10. 
  3. Ashley , Michael. "The history of the science-fiction magazine: the story of the science-fiction magazines from 1950 to 1970," Transformations, Volume 2 (2005), pg. 3 ISBN 978-0-85323-779-2
  4. Mario Morcellini, Alberto Abruzzese, Donatella Scipioni, Carocci, Il Mediaevo: TV e industria culturale nell'Italia del XX secolo Volume 290 de Università (Rome, Italy), 404, 2001
  5. John Morrow, Jack Kirby, TwoMorrows Publishing, Collected Jack Kirby Collector, 154, 2004. ISBN 1-893905-01-2, ISBN 978-1-893905-01-6

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