Sunday, August 8, 2010

Rebooting the NYT Book Review

Rebooting the NYT Book Review: [...] It seems some of the answers are locked up in the New York Times Book Review, but so far I've been too lazy and too cheap to buy a copy of it. This is the one product where the Times change the way it pays, and give it away like the ubiquitous AOL disks a couple of decades ago, and get a cut of the revenue from every book they sell. Book reviews should be free, because the books they sell make lots of money. Probably the same with the collection of NYT movie reviews. [...] I've always felt that news organizations have certain very valid conflicts of interest, conflicts we want them to have. Lke the difference between good cholesterol and bad. Think of it this way. What would be wrong for the San Jose Mercury News thinking that San Jose is a great place, and doing things to promote it? In the same way, we know the NYT thinks books are great because they publish a book review. They're not saying you should buy just any book -- you should buy the books they like, and not buy the ones they don't. The reviews have that bias already, so there's absolutely no problem basing a business model on it. (But in this model they'd get a cut off any book you buy through the review, even if they panned it.)
Not just the NYT Book Review, but also Fresh Air, Radio Open Source, Science Friday, Planet Money, NPR Music, and other podcasts I listen to but that do not make a cent from my many purchases of books and music they feature.I want to compensate them for telling me about good stuff, but there's no mechanism in place to make that easy.

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