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The plug gets pulled on Kirkus. Who will it hurt?

December 10, 2009 |  2:50 pm

Kirkus-unplugged

At the website for Kirkus Reviews, it looks like just another business day -- no notice of the shock wave created by the announcement by Nielsen Business Media that, as part of a deal the company reached with e5 Global Media Holdings, it would “cease operations” for two of its publications, Editor & Publisher and Kirkus Reviews.

“Bad news for anyone who keeps close tabs on newspapers and books,” writes Dave Rosenthal at Read Street, the book blog of our sister paper the Baltimore Sun.

In the case of Kirkus, "anyone” doesn’t apply only to those booksellers who plan their stock with the help of that biweekly publication.

Who else depended on Kirkus?

“It was purportedly read by every Hollywood exec -- or more likely their underlings --  looking for literary properties,” writes Nick Kaufman at LiveJournal. He adds that its reviewers were “impossible to please. . . . If your book got a good review from Kirkus, that really meant something.” Boris Kachka at New York Magazine calls Kirkus "the Pepsi to Publishers Weekly's Coke when it comes to prepub press."

And what is going to happen to all those writers who supplied the impossible reviews?

Kirkus, the website notes, uses more than 100 freelancers (not including Kirkus staff writers) to handle about 5,000 titles annually. Yet another trusted freelance outlet is drying up. What do you think about this news?

-- Nick Owchar

Photo credit: Don Kelsen / Los Angeles Times

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