So the Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently eliminated their Book Review Editor. They claim that the section itself isn’t going away, just the position as it had been for years. The new position would manage the book reviews section, which will be populated by wire feeds and other sources.
So why is this a bad idea? Well, those wire services wouldn’t have a local slant for one. In a city and paper that gave rise to Margaret Mitchell, Lewis Grizzard and so many others, to a state that has a plethora of notable writers all across the spectrum, this can only be seen as a blow to the literary community. And yes, there is a literary community here. Atlanta is #15 on a list of most literate cities ahead of New York, Charleston, Miami, and many others. Last year, in this report, we made #3.
Granted, romance books weren’t even a gleam in this book editor’s eye, for the most part. But if headway had been made before, that forward motion has been stymied now. National feeds will only forward news of national interest, so only those big blockbuster books will get mentioned on the Books page going forward. Discovering a hometown gem will be rendered impossible.
This from a paper who is the primary sponsor of the Decatur Book Festival Labor Day weekend.
Critical Mass National Book Critics Circle blog