As part of incremental changes to reduce the amount of newsprint it uses and otherwise cut costs, The Gazette has made its weekly tabloid Books section into a monthly one, while increasing its size to about double what it was.
For you math experts out there, doubling the size of a section but having it run only a quarter as often will result in 50% less content overall on average. (It’s actually a bit better than that, because on Saturdays when the section doesn’t appear there will be a page from it in the Saturday Extra section).
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to people who have been following the newspaper industry worldwide, as fewer and fewer papers still have such sections at all. If anything, the surprise is that the section wasn’t eliminated entirely.
The Science section, which appeared at the back of Books every week, gets cut loose from that odd-couple relationship and will rejoin the Insight section (which is now part of the A section) on Sundays.
As part of the metamorphosis, the paper gets a new online Books page, which includes a blog called Narratives, and both will get updates between appearances of the big monthly section.
I’ve never been a big book-review-section person myself, so I’m not particularly affected by this decision.
Perhaps that’s the problem.
UPDATE: Andrew Phillips has a post about this on his blog. He mentions that the local literary community was consulted and that, generally, it’s an agreeable compromise.