Just in case you were wondering: Yep, I saw the Lee Abrams memo that touches upon the future of the LA Times Book Review. In case you hadn’t, here’s the nut:
“Maybe Book sections in newspapers are just dated. Not the idea… but the look and feel. Maybe they’re modeled after a book store in 1967 whereas we’re in the Borders, Amazon, B&N era. Maybe they are too scholarly. Maybe they avoid genres like Christian books, Celebrity books and Popular novels, opting instead for reviews of the Philippine Socialist Movement in the 1800’s. The point here is maybe Book sections need to be as dramatically re-thought as Borders re-thought retail. Not dumbing down—but getting in sync with the 21st Century mainstream book reader.”
I don’t know if I’d put it in exactly those words, but if you’ve been reading GalleyCat posts about book reviewing for any amount of time, it won’t surprise you to learn that I think Abrams is on to something where the big picture is concerned. (Although Chad Post is unconvinced.) As for the LATBR, Mark Sarvas has some good ideas about moving all the book coverage online to create the most kickass book review in American mainstream media.