There’s a vacuum in today’s book world.
Once upon a time, newspapers and other media devoted a lot of time, space and money to coverage of books. The New York Times book supplement was eagerly awaited by subscribers, while smaller newspapers across the country did their best to imitate that flagship page. The Memphis Commercial Appeal was no different. Local authors received excellent reviews of their books, book signings were listed in detail and reviews of best sellers were extensive. The book page had its own editor, reporters and reviewers.
But times have changed.
This is not to single out the Memphis paper. It’s a national trend, the CA just happens to be the paper in Memphis, where I grew up and live.
Now, it’s rare for a local author to get a mention in their local paper. Often the Sunday ‘book page’ will have two reviews from a national source, of books most people are unlikely to read. In his own hometown Mark Greaney, who took over the immensely popular Jack Ryan series when Tom Clancy died, doesn’t get a mention, and Greaney sells a lot of books.
This is not to bash the newspaper. What’s going on is the financial reality facing most media entities today. But where one sees despair, another sees opportunity.
So beginning in 2017, I’m dedicating this blog to covering Mid South Book News. If you’re an author, a bookstore owner or manager, a publisher, or simply a fan, send news to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get it out for you. I want to devote this to helping all writers and readers keep the flame of reading alive.