Critical Mass

Book Reviewing, Back From the Dead

By Mark Athitakis

In the new issue of Poets & Writers, former NBCC president Jane Ciabattari reports on how various print and online book review outlets have responded to waves of budget cuts and increased competition in recent years. Her story, “Back From the Dead: The State of Book Reviewing,” includes comments from critics and editors at Publishers Weekly, the New York Times Book Review, Wall Street Journal, NPR, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and more, all of whom discuss how the critical landscape has changed. “The book reviewing long tail is daunting,” Ciabattari writes. “Whom do you trust to help you decide what to read next? Despite the flood of friendly recommendations coming from Amazon and the social-networking sites, many readers still turn to familiar gatekeepers for curatorial guidance.”

How well do you think book reviewing is faring? Share your thoughts in the comments, and take a look at the Critical Mass' “Conversations With Literary Websites,” a series of Q&As with editors at the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Millions, and other sites mentioned in the Poets & Writers article.