Wednesday, May 02, 2007

New York Times: Are Book Reviewers Out of Print?

The New York Times weighs in on the disappearing print book review in Are Book Reviewers Out of Print, and includes a discussion of blogs. A number of high profile lit blogs are mentioned.

Motoko Rich's coverage is very balanced; noting, for instance, that what is found on blogs is "often on subjects not generally covered by newspaper book sections." Being as I am firmly in the "we are different, neither is better or worse" camp, I'm pleased with the article for the most part. (Also, for the record? I think it's a shame that newspapers are cutting back on print reviews. Bread and cheese, people; don't tell me one is better than the other. On their own they are each good; and smart people can make awesome grilled cheese sandwiches. But enough of my really bad metaphors.)

Alas, there is the inevitable basement quote: "'Newspapers, by having institutional backing, have a responsible relationship not only to their publisher but to their readership,'” Mr. Ford said, “'in a way that some guy sitting in his basement in Terre Haute maybe doesn’t.'"

Here's the thing, tho; the article is balanced, many believe as Ford does, and Rich did not use the money quote to lead the article, title the article, etc. Whether or not one agrees with Ford's statement, it's his opinion.

And I'm not some guy in a basement in Terre Haute -- I'm a girl in Jersey, in the living room in my PJs.


Kelly said...

I thought it was a pretty good article too, Liz.

Although...there was a discussion on "Talk of the Nation" yesterday about this issue and someone brought up that the reviewers at NYT and WaPo will have all the power. So, I think it's easier for Rich to be kind :)

The Richard Ford quote was pretty funny. Do you think some guy in Terre Haute had an issue with Ford's latest book?

Liz B said...

I'm going to have to add to the "assumed differences between print and blog" -- office space. All print writers have Real Offices; all blog writers write in the basement.

Kimberly/lectitans said...

I think it's a balanced article, too, and it's provoked me to the point that I can now express my own opinion in this whole big book review debate thing.

Gail Gauthier said...

I'm in my basement.