Critical Mass

WaPo Update 2: “Save the Book World Petition”

By Jane Ciabattari

Signatures are being gathered for a petition to save the Washington Post’s Book World. The text is below. If you have written for Book World—or simply understand how important it is to preserve the section—and would like to sign, please write to us. The deadline is Friday, January 23. Here is the plea to the WaPo board and editors:

“As contributors to and readers of Book World, we write to implore the editors of the Washington Post to keep it alive as a separate section in the Sunday newspaper. Few other forums introduce so many readers to so many important new works of literature and thought each week. As part of one of our most venerated papers, it carries prestige and influence. It enriches our culture with its thoughtful criticism.

“With the newspaper business facing hard times, too many papers have already shuttered their book reviews. Only two stand-alone sections remain. To hard-pressed editors and publishers, these sections may seem peripheral to their papers’ mission. But the robust discussion of books is vital to a good society. ‘A newspaper discloses its view of the world clearly by what it chooses to cover and not to cover, and with what degree of rigor and pride,’ the editors of The New Republic wrote last year.‘When you deprive the coverage of books of adequate space and talent, you are declaring that books are not important.’

“We call on the Washington Post to affirm its belief in the importance of books and of the unique role they play in our culture by maintaining its support of Book World.”