Is 'Campaign To Save Book Reviewing' Just About Saving Status Quo?

If you're bookish, you might've heard about the lit imbroglio swirling around the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In the wake of similar reorganizations at the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, that paper has made a controversial decision to eliminate its book review section, along with the job of its books editor, Teresa Weaver. Maybe you got an email from a friend urging you to sign a petition to keep her employed, or someone hipped you to the read-in protest taking place in Atlanta this Thursday. Or maybe you read author Michael Connelly's impassioned essay about the important but foundering symbiosis between newspapers and reading culture. "My 10-year-old daughter's love of reading books is slowly leading her toward the newspaper sections that are spread every morning across the breakfast table," he says, asking, "Now where will new voices be discovered?" Well, Michael, maybe they'll be discovered by... blogs. Crazy, right?

That's the point of view that some book bloggers think is missing from the debate. Because, you know, readers do tend to log on the internets. "It makes one wonder why these folks waited so long to begin their campaigns to save the review sections, doesn't it? Did they not see this coming when their newspapers became part of the mega-conglomerates? Why weren't steps taken then to assure that what they were doing was significant enough to warrant preserving?" asks Jeff B., who writes a blog about 'underrated writers.'

"And now, instead of falling back on the mostly ineffective (though I do hope this one does work) act of petition signing (aka pissing in the wind), instead of gathering the old guard together for what amounts to eulogies for the dead, why not convene to figuring out what should be done, what direction to take, where to go from here? The act isn't going away, the stage is just in need of some remodeling. Lucky for all of you blue hairs, we kids have found some cheap, fairly easy, and rather effective tools and materials from which to build your new platforms. Oh, and the audience is already there and waiting."

The New Equation [Syntax of Things]
The Folly of Downsizing Book Reviews [LAT]