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The End of the Book Review?

amyhertz23.jpgIn an open letter to readers in The Huffington Post book section, editor Amy Hertz (pictured) made a controversial statement: “Book reviews tend to be conversation enders, and when you’re living in the age of engagement, a time when people are looking for conversation starters, that stance gets you nowhere.”

That comment set off a flurry of debate around the Internet. While editing the HuffPo books section, Hertz has continued her job as an editor at Dutton. One GalleyCat commenter wrote: “Editors love books they think they can sell. Believe me, I know how this works–I’ve worked in publishing for over 20 years. Last thing I want to hear is some editor tooting her own horn yet again.”

One HuffPo reader responded: “I really hope this isn’t just an opportunity for pitch and spin for agents and authors. I think the public needs an objective assessment, a good filter, not necessarily a stuffy book review, but not more loud mouth marketing. You can’t trust someone trying to sell you something.” Finally, novelist and GalleyCat reader Richard Melo tweeted his short and sweet response: “I agree. A poor review can kill a book.”

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