Tuesday, July 22, 2008

LA Times to Shrink Sunday Book Review?

The Los Angeles Times, already facing cutbacks, will cease publication of its standalone Sunday book review section at the end of July, Publishers Weekly reports today in its PW Daily newsletter.

The article quotes Nancy Sullivan, the paper's corporate communications director, as confirming the move, which will reduce dedicated book review staff from five to three and move book news and reviews to the calendar section.

An e-mail signed by Steve Wasserman and three other former book review editors calls the plan a "philistine blunder that...will further wound the long-term fiscal health of the newspaper."

For her part, Sullivan insists that the L.A. Times "remains committed to book review coverage. What form that takes," she added, "is what’s under evaluation."

According to PW, the changes will not affect the popular and long-running Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, scheduled next year for April 25 and 26.

Image: Part of the logo for the 2008 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. Is book coverage at the Times flying away?


Dee S. said...

The Calendar section. That's an insult to me. Not only will it wound the fiscal health of the paper, but newspapers without book sections makes no sense. Most book buyers read papers. I don't get this.

Mark David Gerson said...

Thanks for your comment, Dee.

At a time when newspapers across the country are cutting back on book reviews (or eliminating them altogether) -- and a time when schools are cutting back on arts education -- having a newspaper in a city like L.A. paper cut back its book coverage is pretty shocking.

It the L.A. Times can't support a proper book review section, it doesn't look good for the fate of book coverage in the rest of the country. Not good news for readers or writers.