Newspapers are under financial pressure, and one of the first things to go is often the book reviews. But author and editor Steve Wasserman thinks that's a serious problem.
“Civilization is built on a foundation of books,” he declares in a polemic in CJR, and stripping their pages of book reviews, he says, is indicative of the anti-intellectual hostility endemic in many newsrooms.
At least a dozen papers have scrapped book review sections or dropped reviews, he reports, helping destabilizing the book-publishing industry and contributing to the declining importance placed on “serious” reading. Worse, the former LA Times Book Review editor argues, are the lackluster, "populist" reviews populating many newspapers who still bother to run them.