Pub Rants

Kirkus Reanimates

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STATUS: I’m back in the office.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? GLAD TIDINGS by Van Morrison

While I was out, I saw an article in Publishers Weekly that mentioned that Kirkus might be bought so the review journal could continue publishing.

I have to say this warms my heart—even though they gave one of my books an only so-so review last week. Big smile here.

I do think that online review sites will gain in prominence and I’m certainly not against that, but I do think there is value in a long-standing, revered review journal continuing. It’s going to take some more years for the online sites to gain the same prominence with booksellers and librarians that Kirkus already has in place.

A strong Kirkus review can create an automatic buy for libraries. I can’t name an online site that does the same—yet.

Come back and stay this time Kirkus.

16 Responses

  1. _*Rachel*_ said:

    I never really paid attention to blurbs unless they were from an author I liked or said, “this is the best novel on [subject I hate] on the market!” But now I’ve heard more about Kirkus because of the articles on its closing, I’ll pay more attention to those blurbs.

    As for reviews, I don’t read many anyway. Personal recommendation, which includes blogs I follow, does a lot.

    Glad to see you back, Kristin. Take it easy this week.

  2. Tabitha Maine said:

    Thank you for all that you do to help us learn about the industry.

    God Bess You. I hope you’re taking it easy(ier). Give yourself time. We care about you.

  3. Erin Cabatingan said:

    Not just a strong review–I went to a SCBWI conference a year or so ago, and they had a librarian there for a big city library. She said that her budget was big enough that she pretty much just bought every book they reviewed, even if the review wasn’t all that favorable.

    So that means the author with the so-so review sold at least one book. 🙂

  4. jo leigh said:

    When I was in the film business, which was admittedly a while ago, Kirkus was a must read for everyone in development. The companies I worked for often ended up optioning books for films based on Kirkus reviews. Actually, not reviews so much as synopses.
    I wonder if that’s still the case, or if there’s an online method of previewing upcoming releases.

  5. Sandy Williams said:

    As a school librarian, I would skim through professional review journals. Unless I was familiar with an author or the book was nominates for an award, I would always check Amazon reviews. I even started checking blogs once I became familiar with what the blog-writer liked and disliked.

    One thing I really like about Amazon reviews is that parents often review the books their kids read. So, if there’s something controversial in a book, I have a head’s up that people might have issues. (This wouldn’t necessarily make me not buy a book, but it’s nice to be prepared.) Professional reviews don’t always mention those issues.

    Amazon and review blogs are also helpful with the ‘if you liked this, you might like this’ issue when I’m trying to find new authors for patrons. I can’t read everything I purchase, so having a variety of opinions is incredibly helpful.

    Of course, I’m relatively new to librarianship and am not working right now. I’m not sure how widespread this practice is, but I can see why Kirkus reviews struggles. As a reader, I’d much rather rely on the opinions of someone I know (via their blog) than a professional reviewer whom I know nothing about.

  6. ryan field said:

    I’m glad they’re coming back, for the sake of tradition. But I’m on the fence about the future of online reviewers. I think there is a good chance they might gain in popularity faster than anyone could have predicted.

  7. Sarah Olutola said:

    I really hope Kirkus continues. I don’t always agree with their reviews, but they definitely have a lot of weight in the writing community and I’m always interested in reading what they have to say about my favourite books. Kind of like my love-hate relationship with Roger Ebert. Oh well, I guess we’ll see what happens.

    Glad you’re back 🙂

  8. TH said:

    it’s good to have you back. we missed you but we hope you’re doing well and taking care of YOU.


  9. marc said:

    You don’t know me – my name is Marc Gerald – and i am a fellow agent in NYC. Nice to meet you. I’ve been a lurker at your site for the last few weeks, so impressed by your breadth of knowledge and eagerness to share with the general pop. Hope to meet you one day at BEA!

  10. Voidwalker said:

    Yay for coming back!

    I’m not so familiar with Kirkus, but I guess that’s a challenge to me so I can go lookup the specifics so I can know what the heck you are talkiing about…or who (company-wise) you are talking about. 🙂

  11. Sami said:

    You’re quite right. Librarians will always look for reputable information from a reliable source before purchasing anything. I know I do, and I can’t think of many online blogs that aren’t written by fans of books or avid readers. Which is great, but not really the same. Horray Kirkus!

  12. Sami said:

    Eric said: “Not just a strong review–I went to a SCBWI conference a year or so ago, and they had a librarian there for a big city library. She said that her budget was big enough that she pretty much just bought every book they reviewed, even if the review wasn’t all that favorable.”

    Not many libraries can do this, and most librarians will only buy a book with favorable reviews or high appeal. Yes, they are the not always one and the same. That librarian is lucky indeed.