Sunday, June 29, 2008

Further Cuts in Book Coverage a Possibility

Book coverage in the major newspapers has been on a steady decline for years. Over the last eights years, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Dallas Morning News lost their dedicated book editors, The Tribune and the L.A. Times dropped their standalone book sections, and The San Francisco Chronicle downsized its book section, to name a few examples. Publishers Weekly now reports that the new owner of the Tribune Company is planning to sell the buildings that two of the chain's marquee papers--The Chicago Tribune and The L.A. Times--now occupy. The sale has led to rumors that the affected papers' book sections are in jeopardy.

This news makes me wonder about the future of book coverage. While the elimination of such coverage in the major papers probably means fewer people will be exposed to book reviews and book news, I'm not sure it means quite as much as the doomsayers would like us to believe. I expect the gap will be filled with intelligent coverage in less traditional forms like online book review journals and literary blogs. Indeed, this is already occuring to a large extent. The decline in major newspaper coverage might actually democratize book reviewing by opening the field to a greater number, and variety, of voices.

1 comment:

My Journey Through Reading... said...

Great post! I used to look forward to our Sunday book section in the Chicago Tribune. I have been reading many reviews on all of the lit blogs but there is nothing like the feel of newspaper on a Sunday morning with a good cup of coffee.