On July 14, a day usually associated with the imminent demise of the French monarchy, one section of the Chicago Sun-Times will see an overthrow of its own. The paper, which recently laid off its entire photo staff (a move that resulted in a hilarious Tumblr that shows the crappy photos the Windy City tabloid has run ever since), delivered more bad news last week when it announced that it will cease regular publication of its books coverage.
All entertainment coverage will be subsumed by the paper’s Splash section, which focuses primarily on style, celebrity and society.
Books coverage will continue to exist in some capacity in the paper, but Teresa Budasi, the paper’s books editor, told Publishers Weekly that it will most likely zero in on local authors as opposed to book reviews.
“I can’t say I was surprised,” wrote Henry Kisor, the paper’s former books editor, on his blog. “In fact, I’m amazed that authors and books lasted as long in the city’s struggling No. 2 paper as they did.”
While the news is disheartening–and unsurprising–not all newspapers are sending their books coverage to the graveyard. Last year Chicago’s daily broadsheet, The Chicago Tribune, introduced Printers Row Journal, a paid supplement available to Trib subscribers that offers author interviews, reviews and other book-related news. In the first weeks after it was introduced, subscriptions increased by almost 20%, according to the Tribune Media Group.
Perhaps there is hope for books coverage, after all–but sadly, perhaps not in tabloids aimed at a city’s working class readers.