Thursday, December 10, 2009
Holy cow! I am so surprised. I got an email from the Sacramento/San Francisco Book review announcing that Kirkus Reviews, founded in 1933, is shutting down. ~From The New York Times Abandoning some of the best known names in trade publishing, the Nielsen Company said Thursday that it would shut down Editor & Publisher and Kirkus Reviews, and sell a stable of other publications, including Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter, to a newly formed media company. Nielsen’s plans to sell had been reported for months, but the news that E&P and Kirkus would close at the end of the year was a surprise. The company declined to discuss their financial performance, but executives said they had fought declining advertising and circulation, much like the newspaper and book industries they cover. Read the rest of the article HERE. According to the owner of the Sac Review, they are now only second to Publisher's Weekly in doing the volume of reviews they do every month. I'm not sure that makes them a name yet, but it's certainly interesting to see that print reviewing is indisputably on the decline. Are blogs like mine to blame? When I started this blog some 3 years ago, I did it on a whim. I never expected any audience to speak of and my traffic is modest to say the least. But I do have enough of an audience to get review copies, a lot of review copies, from various publishers in the fantasy/sci-fi genre. And like a lot of other genre blogs, snippets of my reviews are being used to promote certain authors-- all at very little cost to the publisher since I do the reviews for free. Is this an inevitable shift in the industry? Well, considering how poorly print publications are doing across the board I'd say yes. Though, for some strange reason, I had mentally categorized mainstream print journalism-- the stuff that's news oriented-- in a completely different universe than book reviews. Nowadays everyone seems to have opinions on how print journalism is hopelessly biased and have moved to seeking their news online. But reviews? To my knowledge they typically don't fall prey to the kind of bias I see everywhere else. So I'm guessing that bias isn't the issue-- but competition is. It's something to think about. I honestly don't feel particularly guilty because I'm seeing blogger-reviews of everything, not just books. And I'm a small fry in the blogoshpere, let me tell you. I've been hearing about bloggers who are flown in to certain events to reviews products for big companies-- I should be so lucky. One of my favorite blogs frequently gives away really, really expensive kitchen appliances. I don't know what this means long term. But I think the closing of Kirkus Reviews is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to changes the Internet is going to bring to marketing and reviewing new products. Who knew I was a trailblazer?