This website, www.connectedeventsmatter.com , is visited mostly from people who come from Google or Pinterest as well as direct. The visitors come from over 100 countries and most of the US States. Some come direct to the site and return often, but it is clear that many come as a destination for a book they want to know more about.
The experiences of this site confirm that Bloggers have become an important destination for those who want to get book reviews. In 2007 the New York Times ran an article on the question “Are Book Reviewers Out of Print?” The article was written by Motoko Rich. He was prompted to write the article because of changes he had noticed in where book reviews would be seen.
Both the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle had just cut the number of pages they devoted to book reviews and the same thing was happening across the country. Newspapers were surrendering this venue.
It was seen by many as part of the “inevitable transition toward a new, more democratic literary landscape where anyone can comment on books.” It has proven to be the direction that book reviews have taken and the result has been a diversity of voices that the reader can now access. John Freeman, president of the National Book Critics Circle said back in 2007: “What we need is more mediation and reflection, which is why newspapers and literary journals are so important.” Well the result is indeed more mediation and reflection by a much more diverse group of thinkers and the result isn’t the end of literary value in book reviews at all.
Authors and publishers’ value above the medium that writes about their work the volume of attention that they can get, and a case can be made that more attention can be gained without the dependence on newspapers that was the main approach in the past.
Bloggers create online chatter and buzz. Of course, blogs are not mass media but then their independence opens doors for many more voices. The readers of blogs is probably really interested in buying a book, compared to a casual reader of the Sunday newspaper who is only exposed the safest choices the paper dares publish. Mainstream publishing can be sterile and even boring.
National newspapers to some degree have held on to book reviews and author profiles and feed them to some of the regionals, but that approach conflicts with the ignored regional focused works by local authors. These same authors are the ones that have been betrayed by losing what was considered important local coverage. The question is how realistic comments can be from a cultural critic if the very culture they comment about is outside of their real-life experiences.
Newspapers have claimed they have a responsible relationship not only to their publisher but to their readership and suggest by inference that some guy sitting in his basement blogging doesn’t have that. Of course, he doesn’t have to walk the fine line of not offending advertisers and of finding the lowest common denominator in appeal either.