Saturday, February 13, 2010

Recalled to Life: Kirkus Reviews Finds a Surprise New Owner

Kirkus Reviews, the pre-publication review outlet, was expected to close a few weeks ago, but has now had a reprieve. As Daily Finance reports, the business has been sold to shopping-center mogul, and bookstore owner, Herb Simon, better known for owning the Indiana Pacers. This may seem odd news, but it's good news. As I said in an earlier post, with the huge number of titles clamoring for attention (and often going with virtually none), any service that can help pick some needles out of the haystack is really useful. 

Kirkus will keep its editors and continue to publish bi-weekly. It plans to "beef up" its digital offerings--where there should be plenty of opportunities. Kirkus at one time licensed its reviews to Amazon--I wish they would again, to complement the, er, less gimlet-eyed notices from PW I often find there. Or wouldn't you like to have, say, an app on your iPhone that would deliver a pithy, one-screen-size review of a book you're leafing through in a bookstore? Kirkus would be well suited to that. 

We'll wish the rescued Kirkus success--and hope that their near-death experience may make them a little kinder toward the books they review. Just not kind enough to be boring. 

(image by Phiz from A Tale of Two Cities