Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Book reviewing ...

... the long form: Goodbye to All That. (Hat tips to Dave Lull and Lynne Scanlon.)

This covers more bases than may well exist, but there are some key points. That "the argument that it is book sections’ lack of advertising revenue from publishers that constrains book coverage is bogus" almost goes without saying, though not for any reason adduced herein. It's bogus because it is a syandard applied to no other section of the paper. Sports sections get less ad revenue from teams than book sections do from publishers. No, as is made plain, "the real problem was never the inability of book-review sections to turn a profit, but rather the anti-intellectual ethos in the nation’s newsrooms." It is an assumption that is made about who reads the paper, the assumption that readers are principally interested in TV and sports and pop music. There is also the assumption that all newspapers readers are policy wonks. Surveys indicating otherwise notwithstanding, the sales figures for books indicate that lot of people buy them and presumably read them. Ignore a segment of the population that large at your peril.

That said, by the way, A couple of weeks ago, The Inquirer's main book page featured a review of the Collected Poems of Cesar Vallejo and a novel by Simenon first published in 1933. Nobody complained.

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