Book Lovers Make Plea for Better Reviews

New Republic calls shrinking coverage a risk to society
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 9, 2007 4:51 AM CST
Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of, uses a projected image of a book to introduce the Kindle at a news conference on Monday, Nov. 19, 2007 in New York. The $399 electronic book device will allow...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The book may be in decline in our fast-changing world, one complete with electronic readers and shrinking attention spans, but the editors at New Republic will have none of it. They reject the notion that books must conform to the digital age and take newspapers to task for the decline in quality—and quantity—of book reviews. "We toy with the obsolescence of the book at our mental peril," the editors write.

A good book review—as opposed to the mindless rambling of a blog—can change a reader's world, the editors emphasize. "Book reviewing is a training for controversy, without which no open society and no open individual can flourish," they argue. For newspapers and magazines to drop reviews out of revenue concerns is a dereliction of responsibility. "It should be an honor," they insist.