The LA Times ran something on a possible rapprochement
between print and blog literary reviewers. I didn't kow that there was a fight between the two sides, but am not surprised. There is a power hierarchy in the literary world, and reviewers - mistake me not, often performing a good service of discussing things worthy of attention - are often the gatekeepers. They don't like losing that status, but someone should point out that they're going to lose it anyway. One newspaper after another has been dropping or reducing book sections. Some of the analysis in the article was flawed, I think, as in this example:
Still, the numbers are telling: The literary blogs are reaching a small audience. While larger newspapers have hundreds of thousands of subscribers, the Elegant Variation, for example, has an estimated 5,000 to 7,500 hits a day, while Champion's Return of the Reluctant is averaging 40,000 visits a day.
That's comparing apples and oranges. If all those readers were paying attention to the book section in papers, you can bet that the editors and publishers wouldn't be cutting their sections. What newspaper could get 40,000 people a day, every day, to read a book section? If long-time reviewers are truly worried about the level of discourse, and not their own paychecks or control over an art form, then let them join in online, or possibly teach workshops for those who would like to review. Or let them start their own
blogs. This is a time where authors are becoming publishers. Why not find a place in the new order?
Labels: blogs, books, literary, reviewers