And, it seems (to me anyway) that the worm has turned--Mark, Ed, & Maud are quoted with respect, other blogs are mentioned, too.
Don't get me wrong--I want MORE book coverage and I lament the shrinkage of newspaper book reviews. I'd sign the petition for Atlanta's reviewer in a minute. And I'd hand Dan a salary while we're at it. For me, conversations about books are not a zero sum game. We could have more and more and more of it as far as I'm concerned. And different kinds of talk adds new notes to the conversations: even those irritating spammers who keep making banal comments here and then linking to their video review site may add something somewhere. But we learn one kind of thing from a quick mention in a mass circulation magazine, something else from the handwritten card at our local independent, or from Mark or Maud or Bud or Laila, or from the New York Times.
Still, we have this from Richard Ford to close things out:
Mr. Ford, who has never looked at a literary blog, said he wanted the judgment and filter that he believed a newspaper book editor could provide. "Newspapers, by having institutional backing, have a responsible relationship not only to their publisher but to their readership," Mr. Ford said, "in a way that some guy sitting in his basement in Terre Haute maybe doesn't."