Thursday, December 10, 2009
E&P and Kirkus bite the dust
This just in from New York:
Two longtime and influential publications in my line of work, newspapering and book writing, are folding. The demise of Editor & Publisher and Kirkus Reviews is going to leave enormous holes in the daily lives of word workers everywhere.
For decades Editor & Publisher was the most important trade magazine in the newspaper field. It reported on industry news and in its heyday contained pages and pages of help wanted (and jobs wanted) ads.
Now it is dying, killed by the Internet and by lack of industry advertising -- newspapers are on their knees and no longer able to afford E&P ads.
Kirkus never had much advertising and, because its subscriptions cost hundreds of dollars, never had a big circulation (about 2,000 copies every two weeks). Still, it was invariably the first out of the blocks with advance reviews of books to be published two or three months in the future. Booksellers and librarians relied on it to help make purchasing decisions, and newspaper book review editors consulted it before sending out books for review in their own bailiwicks.
So did authors eager to find out how their newest offerings might fare with critics. They were rarely subscribers, but they waited for their editors and agents to give them the good or bad news. A starred review from Kirkus almost always ensured widespread purchasing of their books by libraries as well as picking for newspaper reviews. Favorable quotes from Kirkus often ended up on the dust jackets of new books.
Kirkus was that authoritative.
I know that the Internet will pick up much if not most of the slack, and is already doing so. But so far no Web source has the kind of clout those two magazines had.
For us old print fogies, the Earth has shifted on its axis.