The New Book Review Diaspora


13 September 2010

A good overview piece from Library Journal about the ever-changing landscape of book reviewing:

Over the last 15 years, the book review landscape has changed seismically. Reviewing is no longer centralized, with a few big voices leading the way, but fractured among numerous multifarious voices found mostly on the web. In turn, readers aren’t playing the captive audience any more. Undone by economics, many traditional print sources have been shuttered or, like the formerly stand-alone Los Angeles Times and Washington Post Book World review sections, either collapsed into the rest of the paper or moved entirely online. The New York Times Book Review is still standing but is half the size it was a few decades back.

Meanwhile, book talk thrives on the web, with eager readers thronging LibraryThing and Goodreads, trading recommendations on Facebook and Twitter, and pushing their own reviews on Amazon and barnesandnoble. com. From the most casual forums to rich and rigorous sites like the Millions, reviews are energetically spun out, then tweeted, rated, challenged, and otherwise subject to endless ­feedback.

Nice mention of The Millions, where I am a staff writer.  I also like this comment about the relative reliability/quality of “big” reviews versus “small” ones:

Falling back on glam sites like the Huffington Post or The New Yorker‘s Book Bench is definitely a cop-out. “I’ve learned as much from a ‘small’ review as I have from a ‘big’ one,” says Free Press’s Qureshi, “and, having written myself, I know better than to be snobby about my sources.”

Here’s the link to the full piece.


One Response to “The New Book Review Diaspora”

  1. Danny Says:

    I don’t read a review of a book unless I’ve either already read the book or plan on never reading it. And to be totally honest, I usually don’t even read reviews even then.

    Ditto with movie reviews and music reviews.

    I get it with non-fiction books, but I can’t understand why anyone who loves to read fiction (or watch movies) would want read a review that is going to tell them a great deal of what happens.

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