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Author Topic: Are book critics still relevant?  (Read 7418 times)

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  • Cub
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Are book critics still relevant?
« on: August 07, 2007, 04:38:43 PM »

I've been wondering lately if book critics still matter today. After all, we have online forums like these, we have heavyweight newspapers like the LA Times cutting their review pages and slashing staff, and we have Oprah, the uber-critic, if you will, recommending her picks to millions of viewers. I personally believe critics still play a vital role, championing the lesser-known talents and helping steer us toward the good stuff from established writers.

I decided to pose this question to a pro, however - - longtime San Jose Mercury News book critic and mystery enthusiast John Orr. He provided some interesting thoughts on how he sees his role in this digital world. Check out the full interview on my blog:

I'd love to get your thoughts on whether you think critics still "matter" to you.


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Re: Are book critics still relevant?
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2007, 05:21:03 PM »

Certainly. I think they do help shape the opinions of people who are very good readers - I mean the ones who take reading so seriously that they seek out the opinions of others (like critics). As Ingrid says, they don't propel major sales. I don't know what does. I'm not sure that TV ads or spots on the news would really help matters.

As far as getting good reviews - I think a perfect storm of great reviews can help bring a book to the attention of a lot fo readers. The online forums don't have anywhere near the readership of the major dailies and weeklies. Still, I sometimes read reviews and feel I know a book well enough to skip actually buying it and reading it.
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