Shutting Down the Washington Post Book World?

At the National Book Critics Circle blog Critical Mass, Eric Banks passes along word that "a reliable source at the Washington Post passes along the scary word that among the budgetary recommendations new editor Marcus Brauchli is making to his board is the elimination of Book World."

I heard the same thing via a prominent young American historian just before seeing this.

Once again ... Members of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) and the Association of American University Presses (AAUP) ought to contact Brauchli to let him know that this is not acceptable.

The idea that such changes have anything to do with a lack of advertising by book publishers is nonsense. Is a sports section funded by advertising from the teams it covers?

UPDATE: Brauchli tells Critical Mass, "We are absolutely committed to book reviews and coverage of literature, publishing and ideas in The Post. Our readership has a huge interest in these areas."

But please note what he does not say -- that Book World is safe and its future secure. This is pretty basic "we are deeply committed to doing whatever it is we are supposed to be deeply committed to doing" language that would be used even if coverage were reduced to printing stuff off the wire.

Politico reports: "High-level discussions about ending Book World have indeed taken place, according to a Post source with knowledge of the talks. However, no final decision has been made." 

(crossposted)

MORE:  I've heard from someone involved in Washington Post Radio (now defunct) who writes:

"We heard all that 'we are deeply committed...' talk right up until the very day that we found out the plug was being pulled...The way we found that WaPo radio would be no more was by way of a Paul Farhi column in the Post (May or June of '07). Yup, we were kept completely in the dark about things until we read about it in the Post."
January 16, 2009 6:09 PM | | Comments (5)

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http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/citydesk/2008/12/22/brady-to-leave-washingtonpostcom/

The rumors about BW started as early as New Year's Eve - see above link.

Since time immemorial, newspaper sports sections have been supported by ads from car dealers, sporting-goods stores, and (in the case of publications somewhat indifferent to status as "family papers") Asian massage parlors and strip joints. The Post's sports section is only carrying ads from a couple of car dealers. I think the heavy lifters in the ad dept have all been shifted to promoting Kaplan University, the WP Co's new rival to Univ of Phoenix, DeVry et al.

And, as I just commented in the post on this subject at Galleycat, for most of this decade the Post had someone trying to get publishers to buy ads at BW. I'll just say here that a) she could help y'all land that ultra-rare Dutch "Genius Of Love" 12" and b) if she couldn't get the congloms to buy some ads, I don't know who could. But they should have bought some, if not to keep a great American book supplement going, then to further the prospect of landing the major deal of the next decade if there will be deals to land - I explain all that at the Cat.

I have subscribed to The New Yorker and The New York Times for years, but it was the erudition, the scholarship, the freshness and energy of Book World in the Washington Post which also added to my own library scores of books recommended over the years. Like books I found at Seminary Co-op Bookstore on the campus of the University of Chicago, I read books I never knew I would love based on the writing of columnists who were engaging and knowledgeable. Auto-didacts and booklovers join with me in saying don't let Book World cease to exist.

The only reason I subscribe to the Washington Post is Book World. If it goes, I go.

As a lifelong Washington Post reader, I sincerely request WP not to provide Book World only in internet format. Enjoying Book World is like a reading a book within the newspaper, and is also a critical piece of the week's literary news. Each On Sunday AM, I look forward to sitting back in my WP easy chair, looking out the window to watch the finches on my feeder, and enjoying the many analytical and informational reviews which offer me a new environment for the next possible book (or books) purchase. As a positive pragmatist, beforehand I "thank you" for maintaining the Sunday Book World as it currently exists.

I have a question, if I have to go online to find hardback bestsellers why am I getting a newspaper?

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