The View from Across the Pond

Le Monde has a sympathetic -- dare I say, fraternal? -- article on the end of Book World's stand-alone print edition.

It's gratifying to see Book World described as one of the best literary weeklies "outre-Atlantique" (beyond the Atlantic) and a "supplement celebre" (no translation needed). And do I detect genuine concern about the possible "effet ... deletere" (deleterious effect) on American literary culture?

Or is the venerable Parisian daily merely playing to its readers' prejudices when it describes literary culture as already under siege from "mass culture" in America? Is there a faint echo of Horace Engdahl here?

Also, there seems to be a bit of confusion between the Le Monde headline, which says that the American financial crisis is now hitting literary publications, and the body of the article, which says -- I think more correctly -- that the demise of BW's print edition is not solely a result of the "economic crisis ravaging the book industry" in the United States. The reporter observes that for years U.S. book publishers have spent relatively little of their promotional budgets on advertising in publications such as Book World and, instead, put a lot of money into agreements with big chain bookstores to secure advantageous placement of their books in those stores.

Anyway, I hope nos amis will continue to read us online.

--Alan Cooperman

By Alan Cooperman |  February 27, 2009; 12:24 PM ET
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Sad that the print edition of Book World had to go, but could you find a way to squeeze Mary Karr's Poet's Choice in the Post's print edition somewhere, perhaps in Style & Arts? She is the best, in my judgment, of all the poetry columnists you have had, in her selections and descriptions. Style & Arts has lots of huge photos, so space could easily be found without any sacrifice to content at all.

Posted by: EdDC | March 1, 2009 11:10 AM

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