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Mixed Feelings Over the Demise of Kirkus December 12, 2009

Posted by pupfiction in Uncategorized.
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Librarians, publishers, and booksellers have been crowding the Twitter feed with posts over the closing of Kirkus, a lesser-known book-reviewing periodical. The New York Times Book section ran a short article yesterday detailing what the company has meant to different publishers, emphasizing that reviews were often “reliably cantankerous”, but that the firm was important as a second source, complementing Publishers Weekly reviews, or (in the case of many librarians) Library Journal.

Here are some of the reactions that I found posted on Twitter:

Worst news in a long time: Kirkus shutting down. For me, they were the last reliable source of negative reviews.

Still stunned that KIRKUS REVIEWS and EDITOR AND PUBLISHER are being disbanded. An era in publishing is over. But hopefully future is brite

For those lamenting death of Kirkus, remember, it sold out a while back, when it accepted $$$ for reviews.

I hated Kirkus.

Oh geez the Kirkus Review is going under? That makes me sad.

I know, it’s awful! I was caught totally off-guard. Somehow it never occurred to me Kirkus could be vulnerable.

In a way I’m not surprised, but it filled a niche. Smaller niche now?

In N. Carolina, high pines, shallow sun, where I hear news my old employer Kirkus is shutting down. Paying for reviews nail in the coffin.

I’ll miss Kirkus, myself

What I found suspicious about Kirkus was that they always had opposite opinion of PW. And who do you believe? See? Exactly.

Heartbroken over losing Kirkus! Wrote for them for last year. Wasn’t the $ (ha!) so much as advance copies. I wish they’d stay on line!

What are your reactions?

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Comments»

1. dataduchess - December 12, 2009

Brian Williams on the NBC Nightly News had a headline about these closings on the Friday (12/11/09) broadcast. I might have misheard, but I think he said that these publications were planning on closing – but also that there was hope that someone (or some company) might step in and buy them, so they don’t actually shut down. Maybe there’s still hope, maybe the government will give the publishing and review industry a bailout?

pupfiction - December 12, 2009

I don’t think a financial bail-out will help the publishing industry. It may help them at first, but I think it’s the nature of the industry and the changing role of and access to media in our lives that has really hurt publishers. If companies don’t learn to evolve to meet the needs of their patrons, they will go under, no matter the economic climate.

2. mike - December 12, 2009

Back in the era of covered wagons, independent bookshops needed help selecting inventory. Today, mega-distributors (you know who) select from an A-list of best seller authors and a few other categories. Surely an end of an era.

I hope these brands are resurrected by some interested party, but they probably won’t be quite the same.

3. Julia - December 14, 2009

I’ll definitely miss kirkus if it goes away…
I enjoy the fact that Kirkus reviews tell it like it is… more so than other publications. School Library Journal, in particular, rarely says anything negative, which leads to great deciphering as to what the book is actually like. My favorite Kirkus review from this summer actually stated that a certain book should be “taken out back and shot.”

pupfiction - December 14, 2009

Ooh! Which book? I agree. We need more reviewers who “tell it like it is.”

4. Julia - December 14, 2009

I think the book was something about a Karate Pig. And it was in board-book format, and totally inappropriate for the age level.

5. Anne - December 20, 2009

Dear Infomaven,
Thanks for sending me a message about your blog. I began reviewing literary fiction and nonfiction for Kirkus in 1975 and continued (occasionally) until my friend Anne Larsen left as e-in-c a few years ago. It was a fusty old organization under Barbara Bader when I began. Corporate ownership seems not to have helped. There is a nice essay by Barbara at http://www.hbook.com/blog/2009/12/kirkus-alive.html.

6. Demise of Kirkus: UPDATE « The Infomavens' Desktop - January 6, 2010

[…] 6, 2010 · Leave a Comment We previously posted about the announcement last month that Kirkus Reviews was shutting down. Well, as I hoped, they seem to have found a buyer, and note […]


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