Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Another Book Review Bites the Dust

The Washington Post announced today that it was folding its stand-alone book review section. Reviews will be folded into other sections of the paper.

This leaves two stand-alone book reviews in the U.S. -- the New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. Even though the new Chronicle editor John McMurtrie said recently that the paper's publisher was committed to a stand-alone review, one has to wonder if it can really continue. On the bright side, I have noticed more book advertising in the Chronicle.

The next few weeks will be revealing. The Chronicle will soon start using its new presses, which has already led to some changes. The Food and Home sections, for example, made their last Wednesday appearance today and from now on will appear in the Sunday paper. (I am personally disappointed by this development as I always looked forward to the Wednesday paper for its fabulous food section.)

That change may be a precursor to other changes.

While I am encouraged that the Washington Post will continue to actively review books, there is a difference between running a review on the front cover of a stand-alone book section and running on in the Style section. The first example makes a statement about a book's importance. The second just blends in with other cultural coverage.


Tracey said...

It makes sense to put food and wine in the Sunday paper,. It's a good editorial fit -- more leisurely reading and when people have time to cook etc and they need to do something to beef up the Sunday paper. I don't read it anymore it's so dull.

Frances said...

You are probably right but I got a thrill each Wednesday anticipating the food section. I fear it will get lost in the Sunday paper. I feel there is more to read on Sunday and thus more competition.

I agree the Chron is getting so thin it's almost not worth buying it.

James G. Leventhal said...

what about this a.m.'s new look-and-feel?? HATED the new serif font...if they wanted to go Gotham, shoulda used more of it...

not very "stay classy San Diego..."