Rick Warren, Reader's Digest Part Ways on Magazine Project

Correction appended

The Purpose Driven Connection magazine will no longer be published by The Reader's Digest Association as of 2010, announced Rick Warren's media representative Wednesday.

Less than a year after its launch, the quarterly magazine will release its last print issue in mid-November before going to an all-digital format. Issues in 2010 will be posted online, free of charge on www.purposedriven.com. The content will be operated solely by Warren's Saddleback Church in Southern California.

"Our biggest discovery was learning that people prefer reading our content online rather than in print because it is more convenient and accessible," said Warren, who noted the online format will make the content available to a wider international audience that could not afford the subscription fee.

"Thankfully, Reader's Digest was willing to help us make the transition."

In August, Reader's Digest Association Inc. had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as it faced falling print circulation and mounting debts.

RDA had published the Purpose Driven Connection magazine for a $29.99 a year subscription. Brian Bird, managing editor of the magazine, said subscriptions were growing between 2,500 and 5,000 per month, according to The Associated Press.

"I imagine [Reader's Digest officials] were hoping for this (Purpose Driven Connection) to explode, and it didn't explode," Bird said. "But it's had slow, steady growth. It takes a long time for anything to really grow, especially in a competitive media culture."

The magazine had launched in January with much fanfare as a collaboration between two powerhouses. Warren said he created PDC after meeting with pastors around the world and hearing their concerns about the tools they need to develop their members to spiritual maturity. Through PDC, Warren wanted to address the themes and needs he most frequently heard from pastors.

"We are proud of this venture and are pleased that it is positively touching so many lives," said Alyce Alston, president of emerging businesses, who developed the project for RDA. "It has been a privilege and delight working with the Saddleback team and Pastor Rick to launch Purpose Driven Connection."

The last print copy will be the Christmas issue. After that, the fully Web-based, digital format will be available January 2010.

Correction:  Saturday, December 5, 2009:

An article on Thursday, November 5, 2009, about Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Connection magazine parting ways with The Reader's Digest Association incorrectly reported that Purpose Driven Connection had a total of 2,500 to 5,000 subscriptions per month. The Associated Press issued a correction on the figure stating that the subscriptions were growing by 2,500 to 5,000 per month.