Books vs. reviewers, in pictures
One of a book publicist’s jobs is to get reviews for books. Which is tricky these days, what with the shrinking book sections (accompanied by shrinking staffs). According to an April post on GalleyCat, traditional publishing houses published almost 300,000 books in 2009. Now count the number of book reviews in your local newspaper. Or on your favorite book blog.
This isn’t news, of course. We’ve all known for years that book sections were getting leaner. But the other day, Murderati had a post by Tess Gerritsen about what book editors are up against and I thought it was really informative and fun because she took some photos. Gerritsen visited the offices of The Philadelphia Inquirer, where an editor told her that the newspaper receives 800 books for review consideration every month. Once the book department has weeded out the books they won’t cover, this is their “under consideration” pile.
And then I found more photos.
Over at the Dallas Morning News, book editor @mmerschel tweeted that he receives about 400 books a week. Which means that if he neglects shelving books for a couple weeks, this is what happens.
The upside is that book editors and bloggers LOVE. BOOKS. Their efforts to champion books and reading are much valued by those of us in the publishing industry. But as the pictures illustrate all too well, there are a lot of us and not a lot of them, and that can create log jams.
One day, all (or at least most) galleys probably will be available electronically (as well as in print for those reviewers who prefer hard copies of books), searchable not only by publication date, book title and author name but also by genre and key word / phrase. (Netgalley is a service that provides electronic galleys and has signed up several publishers as partners, but it’s been slow going.) Book catalogs too will also be available online one day (and also searchable by publication date, title, author, genre, key word, etc.) If reviewers can quickly, easily and securely search for what they want, that will obviate the need for book publicists to send out thousands of books — most of which end up discarded.
But until then, book reviewers, feel free to send me pictures of your “to be read” piles / shelves / bins / rooms and I will add them to the Flickr set. Also, what are publicists doing (with regards to book mailings) that you love / hate? And what do you think about electronic catalogs and galleys? Would you use them? Have you used them and what do you think?
Comments can be posted below or sent (with or without photos) to bookpublicityblog[at]gmail[dot]com. (Let me know if you’d like your photos and / or comments to be anonymous.)