LA Observed, with its direct pipeline into the Los Angeles Times newsroom, reports that change is afoot at the Book Review:
Newsroom sources at the Times expect the Sunday Book Review will be folded into a new hybrid opinion section and delivered in Saturday papers. The new section that some staffers have seen would be tabloid-sized, with the favored format apparently using dual front pages like the New York City tabs. A reader could pick up the section and begin with the book pages, or flip to the back page — then rotate the whole section 180 degrees — to begin with the opinion pieces. Books fans and readers looking for opinion would both get a section front to draw them in, but those who like to browse through from front to back could be annoyed at having to rotate mid-way through.
Eh. To be frank, we have always been somewhat embarrassed by the wan flimsiness of the Book Review, which always seemed to underscore management's lack of commitment to serious book coverage. This does not, on the face, seem like a positive development but we'll defer judgment until we've seen it. If it means sharing an already wafer-thin supplement with opinion pages, well, that would be unfortunate.