There’s one news paper whose book-review remodel is getting good reviews: the Raleigh-Durham-Cary-Chapel Hill News & Observer. Granted, the plaudits are being printed in the paper itself. But they seem to come from regular BookPeople ™. From the News & Observer (“Book review pages get a review,” by Ted Vaden):
Those were some of the comments that new literary editor Marcy Smith and I received from readers upon the debut of the books pages under her editorship. The positive responses were gratifying and perhaps a relief to editors here who had earlier heard fears about the changes. In May, former books editor Peder Zane wrote a farewell column that set off an alarm in the Triangle reader community. A number of distinguished authors wrote to The N&O to ask that literary coverage not be diminished.
That won’t be the case, says Smith. She plans to broaden the books pages to appeal to a larger range of readers by reviewing more kinds of books. To that end, she has lined up a dozen writers to do regular columns on “niche” genres: among others, children’s and young adult books, food, poetry, race, women’s issues, science fiction and mysteries.
Previously, Smith said, the books pages were more of a “books-based approach. This is more of a reader-based approach. It will be the big important books, but a wider range, all of the books people are reading.”
She added, “I think that’s what readers want, and if I’m wrong I’d like them to tell me so.”