TO THE EDITOR
As a reader of the Book Review for decades and as an author of eight books, I object to the inclusion of five pages (out a total of 32 pages) of advertisements listing works from self-publishers such as Xlibris, AuthorHouse, and iUniverse. Some of your readers may be unaware that these titles weren’t vetted by legitimate publishers, and, by seeing them listed in the Book Review, you have tacitly bestowed your august imprimatur by association, equalizing them with titles that have been rigorously selected by publishing experts and that have been professionally edited and designed. I am not castigating the individual publications—some may be worthy—but these ads are paid for by the authors, directly or indirectly, for the purpose of self-promotion and to say the title appeared in the New York Times. Secondly, I doubt very much if anyone reads these ads because of the tiny type and the briefness of the copy. In essence, they do not serve your readers needs at all. The Book Review may be unable to discriminate when they make decisions about which advertisers to feature, but in the interest of your readers, who expect value from your pages, these self-publishing ads waste precious space. Why not create collective ads to promote small independent presses instead?
Laury A. Egan