Thursday, March 15, 2012

'Riveting!': The Quandary of the Book Blurb

In Room for Debate, The Times invites knowledgeable outside contributors to discuss news events and other timely issues. Reader comments are moderated Monday through Friday. Past rounds have covered politics, culture, global issues, the economy, even a surprising number of "whither higher ed" topics. This round's debaters include novelists, a journalist, a literary agent ... and Steven King, addresses book blurbs. Maybe it's slow week at the times...

books at a bookstore 

“A Faulkner for our time!” “Can’t put it down!” “An up-all-night thriller!” At some point, you have to wonder: if so many books are being commended, are they all commendable? It’s the perennial question of whether the blurbs on book covers are still meaningful or have become just background noise. After all, Kindle Singles are doing just fine without covers — and cover blurbs.

Do book blurbs serve readers? Do they help writers?

'Riveting!': The Quandary of the Book Blurb - Room for Debate - Adriana Zehbrauskas for The New York Times 

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