aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,

The problem isn’t the loss of book reviews, it’s the loss of reading

In an article on Salon, former SF Chronicle book editor and critic almost a relief when it finally gives out") David Kipen adds his thoughts to the shrinking book review discussion.

In part, the article says, “Newspapers were cutting book coverage before the current flurry, among other places in Detroit, San Jose and Boston. Without exception, losing their book pages failed to stanch either reader loss or red ink. Were these papers already in trouble before they started cutting book coverage? Of course, but what did their publishers expect by further alienating people who like to read -- the one constituency no newspaper can survive without? Put another way, how can institutions that cover electoral politics be so deaf to every campaign's first commandment, namely, "Shore up your base"?

“Sometimes it seems as if embattled newspapers took the "Reading at Risk" report put out by the National Endowment for the Arts (where I work these days) as a rationalization for further cuts instead of a call to action. The study showed that only about 47 percent of Americans can say they read a book for pleasure the previous year. That marked a decade-over-decade swan dive from 1992, and a power dive from the decade before. Worse yet, as fast as the reading numbers are sinking across the board, for teenagers they're absolutely cratering.”

Read more here.

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Tags: does anyone read for pleasure any more?

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