Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Goodbye LA Times Book Review

This Sunday will be the last standalone LA Times Book Review. From now on, book coverage will be carried in the Calendar section, and since I doubt they're going to be compromising any film coverage to accommodate it, that means there will be less of it. Sorry, I should say even less of it, since they've been trimming the Book Review for at least a year now.

It's not that the coverage the Times was presenting was so important. There are other places to get book coverage, and I think they will endure. But it does send a pretty bad message about literature's place in contemporary Los Angeles. And, I would argue, an inaccurate one. This is the town where hundreds of thousands of people pack the LA Times Festival of Books every year, where there are many successful reading series, and where, believe it or not, there are independent bookstores that are not only surviving but thriving and expanding (despite the weekly eulogies of Dutton's). And yet we can't sustain a once-a-week standalone book review.

So what will the future of book coverage in Los Angeles look like? Will the LA Weekly step into the void and expand its coverage? Is Mark's digital idea a possibility? Or will we continue to flock to blogs, some of which are beginning to expand their scope into more formal reviews anyway? It should be interesting, if a little depressing, to watch.

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At 6:52 PM, OpenID julieklam said...

Am I the only one who thinks of Marathon Man and the old woman yelling "Szell! Szell!" Every time Sam (S)Zell does another stupid thing?


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