22 July 08 | Chad W. Post

According to Rachel Deahl at PW Sam Zell (and presumably the rest of the Tribune Co. employees with their insane capitalization) has finally had his way with the standalone L.A. Times Book Review section and is folding it into the Calendar Section. (Man, that seems like an insult—couldn’t they at least fold the Calendar into the Books Section?) Even worse is the fact that they’re laying off two dedicated book review editors.

Of course, the Tribune Co. is still “committed” to books (and winning the World Series one century after the perennial “wait till next year” campaign began . . . good luck with that one, Cubbies!):

Nancy Sullivan, executive director of corporate communications at the paper, would not comment on any staff cuts or the future of the standalone book review section. Noting that more definitive news would be issued next week, she said that “the Times remains committed to book review coverage. What form that takes is what’s under evaluation.” But Wasserman said that the book review staff has been cut from five to three, and book review coverage will be placed in the Calendar section of the paper where it will share space with features.

Wasserman—along with three other past L.A. Times book review editors—released a statement about this situation:

The dismantling of the Sunday Book Review section and the migration of a few surviving reviews to the Sunday Calendar section represents a historic retreat from the large ambitions which accompanied the birth of the section. [. . .]

Angelenos in growing number are already choosing to cancel their subscriptions to the Sunday Times. The elimination of the Book Review, a philistine blunder that insults the cultural ambition of the city and the region, will only accelerate this process and further wound the long-term fiscal health of the newspaper.

We urge readers and writers alike to join with us as we protest this sad and backward step.

This is really depressing . . . I’m afraid to google the actual answer, but I think that means that there’s only 2 or 3 remaining standalone book sections in the U.S.


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