In a welcome example of trend-reversal, National Public Radio is expanding book coverage on its web site, and adding six (count 'em, six!) new book reviewers, including a graphic-novel reviewer. Quoted by Publisher's Weekly in a recent article, senior supervising producer Joe Mattazonni said: "we're building up our book coverage because book content really works for our audience." Golly, a customer-driven web site. What a concept!
Mattazoni noted that NPR.org has a mandate to develop original online content and that the new book features are part of that plan. In addition to the work of the new reviewers, NPR.org will expand its Book Tour feature, which takes recordings of readings done at D.C.'s Politics & Prose bookstore (a great bookstore, by the way), edits them, and offers them as podcasts on the site.
BookGirl readers may recall my angst last year over the continuing drop of arts journalists, particularly book critics, from the editorial rosters of newspapers throughout the country (look here and here and here for the sake of nostalgia), so it's a joy to hear that book critics are getting work, and that readers (and visitors to NPR.org's Books page) will be the beneficiaries. Gee, I just may send them a check.