Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Review Review

If you use reviews to decide what to read next, it’s not a good time for you. The Hartford Courant laid off its books editor. The Los Angeles Times no longer publishes a freestanding Sunday book review. It’s been more than a year since the Atlanta Journal-Constitution lost book reviews.

Losing newspaper review sections is bad news for authors, but it’s worse news for the newspaper business and beyond that, for our whole culture. The fact is, newspapers are shrinking because fewer and fewer people are reading them. There’s no good side to that.

But don’t despair. Review-loving readers do have options, because many of your peers write excellent reviews. Check out the top 100 reviewers on Some of them specialize in a particular genre. And authors often recommend fellow writers’ work on some of the best, award-winning blogs (like, ahem… THIS one.) Elsewhere on line I'd recommend: - which features more than 100 qualified book reviewers and over 15,000 book reviews. -Featuring detailed book reviews from all genres, and readers can enter book reviews and get listed as reviewers. - Collects reviews from well-known sources like The Atlantic Online, Esquire, The New Republic,, and Powell's own staff. - Danny Yee has posted over 1000 book reviews covering almost everything - history, literature, popular science, computing, sf + fantasy, biology, historical fiction, anthropology...

And you can bet that we authors will be stepping into the 21st century too. We’ll be sending more and more review copies to Amazon reviewers and to influential bloggers. So even if newspapers are struggling and fading away, book reviews will move very smoothly to the internet.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

You might also check out Word of Blog, a meta-review site run by bloggers. Right now, it lists reviews from 44 different book blogs in a variety of genres and the list is growing.