Save Book World Petition

by Jane Ciabattari | Jan-30-2009

Within a matter of hours,more than 100 authors and critics who had contributed to the Washington Post Book World signed a petition and sent letters of support to save Book World as a stand-alone book section. A hundred or more readers signed, as well. This effort failed. Below are some of the comments and a list of the Book World contributors who banged the drum loudly. And below that, the petition and the list of those who signed.

I’d be shocked and disappointed if it ceased to be a separate section. It would be a serious blow to books and literature in this country.
Morris Dickstein

Without Book World, the real world would be a little dumber and less interesting. Please do the right thing.
George Scialabba

The Washington Post Book World is a national treasure. Its blend of incisive freelance reviews, book news and splendid critics makes it a must-read. To the powers-that-be: Don’t do the unthinkable. Don’t destroy one of the Post’s finest achievements.
Dan Cryer

As a former book editor, now a book writer and journalist who is proud to have been published by Book World, let me add my voice and signature to those urging the Washington Post’s management to act to preserve this important journalistic asset.

The argument for why books and ideas are vitally important to our society has already been eloquently made by others, including the NBCC’s Jane Ciabattari; I would only add that it’s supremely ironic that, just as we have inaugurated a president who is also a writer and a reader, the newspaper of our nation’s capital should question the importance of a dedicated section for the discussion of reading and writing.

It’s not enough for newspaper managements to complain that book sections don’t pay their own way. For too long, newspapers all across the country have made these sections advertising ghettos for publishers and booksellers, and have insisted that the revenues thus generated should be the section’s only means of support. I wouldn’t be the first to wonder why newspapers don’t demand that sports teams and venues support sports sections; or why they don’t solicit buys from non-book-related advertisers whose products might be appealing to those who read and care about books.

Before the Post decides that Book World’s days are numbered, I hope its management will consider these points as well as others, and ensure that the dedicated discussion of books and ideas will continue in the 21st century.

Amanda Vaill

I hope the mag can be saved—it really is the best book review section in the country in terms of depth, quality, and range.  I have always liked how the unexpected book found its way into Book World’s pages.
Andre Bernard

I have written for Book World and I’m appalled that it might close.
Please add my name to your good letter.
George Packer

THE PETITION:

As contributors to, as well as readers of, Book World, we write to implore
> > the editors of the Washington Post to reconsider your decision and to keep
> > it alive as a separate section in the Sunday newspaper. Few other forums
> > introduce so many readers to so many important new works of literature and
> > thought each week. As part of one of our most venerated papers, it carries
> > prestige and influence. It enriches our culture with its thoughtful
> > criticism.
> >
> > With the newspaper business facing hard times, too many papers have
> > already shuttered their book reviews. Almost no other stand-alone sections
> > remain. To hard-pressed editors and publishers, these sections may seem
> > peripheral to their papers’ mission. But the robust discussion of books is
> > vital to a good society. “A newspaper discloses its view of the world
> > clearly by what it chooses to cover and not to cover, and with what degree
> > of rigor and pride,” the editors of The New Republic wrote last year.
> > “When you deprive the coverage of books of adequate space and talent, you
> > are declaring that books are not important.”
> >
> > We call on the Washington Post to affirm its belief in the importance of
> > books and of the unique role they play in our culture by maintaining its
> > support of Book World.
> >
> > Yours,
> >
> > Dick Adler
> >
> > Victoria Amador
> >
> > Alan Appel
> >
> > Eric Banks
> >
> > Gerald Bartell
> >
> > Emily Bazelon
> >
> > Peter Beinart
> >
> > Elizabeth Benedict
> >
> > Carol Bere
> >
> > André Bernard
> >
> > Doug Brinkley
> >
> > Alexis Burling
> >
> > Stephen Burt
> >
> > Christopher Byrd
> >
> > Rich Byrne
> >
> > Jane Ciabattari
> >
> > Mark Ciabattari
> >
> > Maureen Corrigan
> >
> > Sarah L. Courteau
> >
> > Joseph Crespino
> >
> > Dan Cryer
> >
> > Anne Marie Cummins
> >
> > Matthew Dallek
> >
> > Robert Dallek
> >
> > Debra Dickerson
> >
> > Morris Dickstein
> >
> > Jay Dixit
> >
> > Scott Donaldson
> >
> > Susan Douglas
> >
> > Tony D’Souza
> >
> > Barbara Ehrenreich
> >
> > Andrew Ervin
> >
> > David Feige
> >
> > Glenn Frankel
> >
> > Ruth Franklin
> >
> > Brigitte Frase
> >
> > David J. Garrow
> >
> > Sarah F. Gold
> >
> > Emily Gordon
> >
> > Gershom Gorenberg
> >
> > Vivian Gornick
> >
> > Michael Gorra
> >
> > David Greenberg
> >
> > Thomas Hayden
> >
> > Jennifer Howard
> >
> > Ann Hulbert
> >
> > Arnold Isaacs
> >
> > Georgia Jones-Davis
> >
> > Wendy Kaufman
> >
> > Michael Kazin
> >
> > Jonathon Keats
> >
> > Richard Kahlenberg
> >
> > David Kirby
> >
> > Francis Kissling
> >
> > Gary Krist
> >
> > Robert K. Landers
> >
> > Jackson Lears
> >
> > Caroline Leavitt
> >
> > Chris Lehmann
> >
> > Chuck Leddy
> >
> > Mark Lewis
> >
> > Grace Lichtenstein
> >
> > Richard Lingeman
> >
> > Dahlia Lithwick
> >
> > William Logan
> >
> > Fredrik Logevall
> >
> > Stephen J. Lyons
> >
> > Jonathan Mahler
> >
> > James Mann
> >
> > Robin Marantz Henig
> >
> > Anne Matthews
> >
> > Heller McAlpin
> >
> > Tara McKelvey
> >
> > Scott McLemee
> >
> > Laura Miller
> >
> > Tom Miller
> >
> > Yehudah Mirsky
> >
> > Janice P. Nimura
> >
> > Joseph Olshan
> >
> > Peggy Orenstein
> >
> > George Packer
> >
> > Lisa Page
> >
> > Tim Page
> >
> > Jonathan Palattella
> >
> > Jonathan Penner
> >
> > James Polk
> >
> > Katha Pollitt
> >
> > Katherine A. Powers
> >
> > Joy Press
> >
> > Benito Rakower
> >
> > Kit Reed
> >
> > Donna Rifkind
> >
> > Steven V. Roberts
> >
> > Roxana Robinson
> >
> > Daniel Asa Rose
> >
> > Judith Rosen
> >
> > Mark Rotella
> >
> > Peter Rowley
> >
> > Gene Santoro
> >
> > Lynne Sharon Schwartz
> >
> > George Scialabba
> >
> > Gary Shteyngart
> >
> > Paul Skenazy
> >
> > Wendy Smith
> >
> > Peter Straub
> >
> > Jack Sullivan
> >
> > Christina Thompson
> >
> > Amanda Vaill
> >
> > Steve Wasserman
> >
> > Haim Watzman
> >
> > Eric Weiner
> >
> > Debra Weinstein
> >
> > Rick Whitaker
> >
> > Ted Widmer
> >
> > Sean Wilentz
> >
> > Douglas E. Winter
> >
> > Alan Wolfe
> >
> > Meg Wolitzer
> >
> > Richard B. Woodward
> >
> > Paul Zakrzewski
> >
> > Boyd Zenner
> >
> > Carl Zimmer
> >
> >
> >




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