This article from the New York Times re the decline of newspaper book reviews is of interest to readers and writers.

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One of the discussions I have been part of elsewhere is about the creation of knowledge and the role of social networking (such as CrimeSpace and blogs etc) in the generation of knowledge. It is a phenomena we are seeing not only with the creation of blogs, but with collaborative spaces such as wikis. There is no reason why it should affect book reviews as well. Book reviews created by an educated reading population who read for pleasure are no less insightful than those created by journalists who read for a living. My own reviews can be found at and I also enjoy reading the reviews of others such as I can get to at LibraryThing.
Michael Connelly expressed similar concerns in an essay that appeared in the Sunday Los Angeles Times of April 29. In summary, he noted: "In the past, newspaper executives understood the symbiotic relationship between their product and books. People who read books also read newspapers. From that basic tenet came a philosophy: If you foster books, you foster reading. If you foster reading, you foster newspapers. That loss-leader ends up helping you build and keep your base. ",0,3550610......
The mega-library-catalog, WorldCat ( has a function for attaching reviews to its records. I'm not sure I will find it any more useful than Amazon reviews, that are so often written by either close relatives or cranks, but it's an indication that even library catalogs are going social.

I still think that so long as we have newspapers, they should cover books, just as they shouldn't leave reporting to bloggers. Nothing wrong with blogs, but we need both. It isn't either/or. See this sidebar in the recent special report on "Breaking the News" in Mother Jones -


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