aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,

You can help save the book review!

At least this can't hurt. (Full disclosure: I am a book reviewer for the Oregonian, but I am not a member of this group.) Book reviews help lift authors no one has heard about onto lists for the library or the bookstore. Fewer book reviews, I believe, will mean sales will go to a smaller and smaller number of authors.

Lifted more or less directly from a press release:

Last week, the Los Angeles Times folded its book review section into an opinion section, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution eliminated its book review position.... In the past few years, newspapers from the
Chicago Tribune to the Dallas Morning News to the Village Voice have seen book coverage shrink.

The National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) is launching a Campaign to Save Book Reviews. During the last week in
April and throughout the month of May, the NBCC is asking authors and editors, journalists and publishers—and in fact anyone interested in literary culture—to speak out on the value of books and book reviewing.

The campaign’s launch pad is an effort to save the book review position at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, held until last week by Teresa Weaver. Explains NBCC president John Freeman, “Teresa has the opportunity to apply for a job within the company, but it's not clear what the fate of the book page will be—whether it'll be reassigned to an existing editor, whether it will go entirely to wire copy, or whether it will be removed altogether.” [April adds: wire copy? AP cut it's wire copy book reviews a while back] A petition to save Weaver’s
job has already secured nearly a thousand signatures, including those from luminaries as varied as Michael Connelly, Richard Powers, and Ian Rankin. Sign Here.[April says: they will probably pay more attention if you are an actual reader of the newspaper.]

Throughout the campaign, Critical Mass, the NBCC’s blog, will feature Q&As, posts by concerned writers, and advice on petitioning the media to assure continued book coverage. Current posts include a lengthy Q&A with David L. Ulin, editor of the Los Angeles Times Book Review.

Updated to add: The Chicago Tribune's Books section will move to Saturday on May 19, the paper just announced. "Moving the section to Saturday will separate it from the Sunday newspaper, which already is bursting at the seams with essential reading, and make a prominent place for it on a new day of the week.

April's response: Right! What day is the paper most read? Sunday. What day is the paper least read? Saturday? You can dress it up how you like, but that's the truth.

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