Bad News and Good News

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Happy Saturday!

Bad news first: On Monday, you'll see the last of my business book reviews in the Miami Herald for now. (I say "for now" because you never know, but this is the last one that I know of.)

I was informed by the executive business editor that it's due to budget and space constraints, which is what I was also told in the fall when the weekly column was reduced to a monthly book club. Not a big surprise, if you follow the newspaper biz, but a disappointment, no less, after ten and a half years. (First weekly review column was September 2000).

I'll continue to do monthly graphic novel reviews for the paper until I get a similar message from that editor. It's not a matter of "if" but "when," I'm sorry to say.

It was great while it lasted. A decade+ is something to be proud of and I am. I still love the paper, have friends there, read it every day and want it to survive. If my departure helps it survive, so be it.

Good news: The book club continues! It will be much better! Really! I'm excited! (Can you tell?)

In a couple of weeks, you'll get an email announcing the first round of the reborn club. You can respond or tell me to pound sand. (Your choice!)

It'll be online-only with a dedicated web page. We will no longer be constrained by the Herald's cutting-edge ’90s technology. (Don't get me started!) We'll have room for longer reviews from you. I'll still edit them a bit, but mostly for style and clarity, and not space.

I'll also be able to include author links, videos, interviews and other stuff (tba).

I'll also guarantee that everyone who asks to review a book receives one to review (within reason, of course). That's big, right there! No more shut-outs!! Cool.

In order to do this, there will be a small fee to participate, probably $12 per round. That feels right. (Of course, the books you'll receive to review are usually valued about twice as much as that, so it's still a great "deal," if you want to look at it that way.)

The $12 will cover postage and shipping materials, and my time doing all this; things the Herald use to cover — more or less. (I work cheap, unfortunately).

There'll be a Paypal and credit card thing so it will be easy to do. No worries!

You WILL be able to see your reviews online (yay!) and we won't have to do the monthly "hope, pray and scavenger hunt" to find them as we did with the Herald. (Hopefully, we won't have that on Monday for the final book club reviews. Oy!)

That's the story. One door closes and another opens. Or in this case, a browser window opens. And no more dead trees.

I love the book club and if you do, too, let's keep it going and make it better!

Thanks for reading. Thanks for writing. Thanks for making this possible.


Richard Pachter


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