Feature

The folding of the ‘LA Times’ Book Review section

The LA Times cuts a section—is it a cultural loss?

What happened
The Los Angeles Times is believed to be folding its standalone Sunday Book Review section and publishing its last one on July 27. Aside from shrinking its books coverage and merging it in with the paper’s Calendar section, the LA Times is also reportedly laying off two book editors. (Publishers Weekly)

What the commentators said
“This is a travesty,” said the blog Ghost Word. The Los Angeles Times Book Review “is one of the most interesting sections in the country.” Its “demise,” and that of “other book sections in the country, means a lessening of information, a truncation of the exchange of ideas that don’t always fit into the current celebrity-crazed marketplace.”

I “sympathize” with the book editors at the LA Times, said Teresa Budasi in the Chicago Sun-Times blog The Book Room. “But wake up, people!” Everyone knows the newspaper business is in “the toilet.” And like the industry “as a whole,” book review editors also need to “figure out ways to reinvent” themselves, “whether it be by running shorter reviews” or “beefing up online content.” It’s time to “move into the 21st century.”

“There’s been some buzz and hand-wringing about this for a while,” said the blog Bookninja. But while this may not be good news for the book editors at the LA Times, it is for bloggers: “Weep, ye stressed publicists—and bring us your tired and huddled masses.”

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