The Death of the Book Review?

Posts are fly­ing around the lit­er­ary blo­gos­phere lament­ing the Death of Lit­er­ary Crit­i­cism. Now, by my count this par­tic­u­lar demise has been pre­dict­ed at least three times in the past few decades, so why wor­ry now? The short answer is that more books are pub­lished annu­al­ly than ever, and now there are few­er book review­ers. The LA Times recent­ly fold­ed its free­stand­ing book review into the rest of the week­end paper and news­pa­per staffs around the coun­try are trim­ming review posi­tions in favor of syn­di­cat­ed wire ser­vice reviews.

Michael Con­nel­ly, a crime fic­tion writer, pub­lished an op-ed in the LA Times protest­ing the move and he paints a dire pic­ture of our cul­tur­al future:

The truth is that the book and news­pa­per busi­ness­es share the same
dread­ful fear: that peo­ple will stop read­ing. And the fear may be
well-found­ed. Across the coun­try, news­pa­per cir­cu­la­tions are down — and
this is clear­ly part of the rea­son for the cuts to book sec­tions. At
the same time, the book busi­ness increas­ing­ly relies on an aging
cus­tomer base that may not be refu­el­ing itself with enough new read­ers.

Should we blame cash-strapped news­pa­per com­pa­nies or a cul­ture that’s shift­ing away from tra­di­tion­al media alto­geth­er? Ladies and gen­tle­men, start your iPods–to lend rea­soned analy­sis, we now turn to Steven Col­bert, who inter­viewed Salman Rushdie on this sub­ject ear­li­er this week (click below or watch the full show on iTunes):

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.