Sarah Sands presents her Reader's Digest redesign

After almost six months in the post, editor-in-chief of Readers Digest Sarah Sands will unveil her redesign of the magazine at a lavish party tonight at London’s Wallace Collection.

Ahead of the party, Sands told today’s Independent what to expect from the new look.

She said: ‘I’d like it to be the Richard Curtis of the publishing market, in that it’s optimistic and it’s about people doing their best and having interesting lives. While it’s not banal it’s sunny in its outlook.”

Discussing the old look magazine, Sands said: “It’s below the radar even though it is very successful, high-circulation magazine. That’s the paradox of it really. Editorially I think it has slightly drifted, lost confidence in its famous unique character.”

Sands’ British Reader’s Digest has a circulation of 650,000, and globally the magazine has a circulation of 29 million copies a month.

The circulation mainly subscription based, and Sands said she hopes to push newsstand sales in outlets such as Marks & Spencer, Waitrose and airports.

She also wants to develop a digital edition of the magazine and to revamp the website.

The cover image for the new magazine is Finn Vergos, son of French photojournalist Dominique Vergos and step-son of Rory Peck, also a journalist, who was killed filming in Russia. His mother, Juliet Peck, also deceased, was a charity worker and Vergos writes in the magazine about retracing some of her movements. ‘It’s very important that he’s not a celebrity. These are real stories about real people,” said Sands.

Contributors to the new magazine include Julie Birchill, Richard Addis, Stephen Fry and Bill Nighy.

Sands joined Reader’s Digest in April this year, having formerly worked as a consultant editor for the Daily Mail and before that editor of the Sunday Telegraph.

She was ousted from the Sunday Telegraph because of her resistance to seven-day working across the daily and Sunday titles as well as to their combined websites.

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