After February 15, the Washington Post will no longer publish Book World, its stand-alone print book review section. Books coverage, Howard Kurtz reports “will be shifted to the Style section and a revamped Outlook section.” But:
Book World will live on in digital form, as a site on washingtonpost.com that will include not just an archive of reviews, but also reporting on publishing and a calendar of Washington area literary events. It will still be published occasionally as a special section, focusing on such themes as children’s books and summer reading.
Steve Wasserman, onetime books editor at The Los Angeles Times (its stand-alone books section was folded into the wider paper in 2007), tells the New York Times today: “Maybe it’s just foolish and sentimental nostalgia on my part, but somehow one likes to think that the republic of letters actually deserves the recognition of a separate country.” Wasserman argued that case — worth revisiting today— in the September/October 2007 issue of CJR.
Meanwhile, Terry Teachout sees no reason to “tear your hair because the Washington Post has decided to bow to the inevitable.” Writes Teachout:
The point is that the Post is still covering books, and the paper’s decision to continue to publish an online version of Book World strikes me as enlightened, so long as the online “magazine” is edited and designed in such a way as to retain a visual and stylistic identity of its own.