Thursday, July 24, 2008

Steve Wasserman isn't happy, and neither am I.

Steve Wasserman, a former editor of the Los Angeles Times Book Review, isn't happy. According to a July 21 article in Publisher Weekly's online edition, the Los Angeles Times is cutting out its standalone book review section. Two book review editors will lose their jobs, and countless of publishers and authors will lose yet another opportunity to have their books reviewed by a credible daily newspaper.

As a book publicist whose clients' works range from mainstream to self-published, I've never relied solely on book reviews. I've always sought book promotion opportunities from a wide range of broadcast, print, and online media outlets. And, these days, the reviewers with whom I've having the most success connecting are Amazon's top reviewers -- lay people, if you will, who have become top authorities on "what's hot and what's not" in the literary world.

Okay. Times change, and the media must change, too.

Top daily newspapers have their business considerations, just as authors and publishers must watch their own bottom lines. If standalone book review sections aren't producing profits, then they must be sacrificed, along with the editors who were the lifeblood of those standalone book review sections and the authors and publishers who relied upon those standalone book review sections for book publicity.

I understand that this is all about money and not a statement about the worthiness of book reviews or a statement that literature doesn't matter anymore. I understand that.

But that doesn't make me any happier about the whole thing.

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