Wall Street Journal Starting a Book Review Section

The Wall Street Journal is really taking this "anything the New York Times does we can do better" fantasy very seriously! The latest shot across the NYT's bow: a WSJ book review section. Is the world ready for that?

John Koblin reports that the section will be headed by New York Sun vet Robert Messenger, and will launch within the "next few weeks."

The book review will be a pull-out section that will be inserted in one of the newly created sections for The Weekend Journal that will launch later this month. It is unclear how many pages will be dedicated to the new book review, but one source said it will be "significant"

  • Well, this is good for books, and authors, and book readers, and especially the book publishing industry!
  • But does it make any business sense? Most of America's major papers save the NYT have folded their book review sections in the past few years. Rupert Murdoch is clearly willing to throw money at the WSJ in order to try to grab market share from the NYT—witness the launch of the WSJ's New York section, an expensive and probably unnecessary endeavor from a strictly bean-counting perspective.
  • Let's clarify that: it doesn't make financial sense at all in the short term. And Murdoch certainly doesn't care. And if Kindles and their kin lead to a new explosion in book-reading over the next decade, this will look prescient. But it won't put the NYT out of business.
  • Also good if you write book reviews! Pitch em! Drink from the trough of a billionaire's ambition, while you can!
[NYO]