Saturday, February 21, 2009

Adding It Up: We review the February 22, 2009 Sunday New York Times Book Review

The New York Times Book Review for February 22, 2009 is back to where it was the first two weeks in February, at 24 pages, and sadly, the news about the book review's most crucial function - to bring in advertising revenue for the company - has reached its nadir.

The cover has no ads. Since other sections of the paper, including the front page, now have ads, we still think ads would be a good idea here. There's a lot of space devoted to an old B&W pic of the pool at the Fontainbleau (pronounced "Fountain-blue"). Feh. We always preferred the pools further north at the Carillon and the Sheraton Bal Habour, places where we could see old-time celebrities in bathing suits (Ronnie Dyson, cute; George Meany, not so much).

Page 2: Full-page ad for a Maeve Binchy novel published by Knopf, that publisher again coming thru to rescue page 2.

Page 3: Table of contents page has side ad for two Ana Grey mysteries by April Smith. Or maybe it's two April Smith mysteries by Ana Grey? Whatever. Counts as 40% of a page in our estimation.

Page 4: The Editors' "Up Front" flanked on the left by a decent-sized ad for a Little, Brown scary book or two. Counts as 60% of a page, which means we've so far got two full pages of ads out of four pages. If only the whole issue could be half and half! Alas, no.

Page 5: Boring letters and some "postcript," about Susan Sontag, whose heirs should have known better than to publish her immature diaries. But also a 40% right-hand ad from Henry Holt, another detective book.

Page 6: A left-hand ad for the New York Times Store. Counts as no ads.

Page 7: A little right-hand ad for some conference on Southern literature in Chattanooga. We can't afford choo-choo fare, but it counts as 25% of a page (we're in a generous mood).

Page 8: Pic of Crockett and Tubbs from our days in South Florida but no ads. From here on in, ads are going to be as scarce as pastel unconstructed sports jackets.

Page 9: No ads.

Page 10: No ads.

Page 11: No ads.

Page 12: Bupkis.

Page 13: Nada.

Page 14: Zilch.

Page 15: Nothing in the way of ads.

Page 16: Nope.

Page 17: No ads, but a nice pic of Miller Williams, whom we last saw in September 2001 when he and the missus joined us, our pal Crescent Dragonwagon and others at a Fayetteville restaurant for a bite after a poetry reading.

Page 18: No ads.

Page 19: We'll count this as 50% of a page, ignoring the New York Times Store ad for another food book. There's two Abraham Lincoln-related ads, and as we can personally attest, Lincoln always sells books. Apparently Honest Abe is good for ads too.

Page 20: No ads.

Page 21: Two right-hand is from NYTBR ad stalwart Other Press, who've earned a link (probably sausages too). Counts as 40% of a page.

Page 22: Um, on the left 40% of the page are two classified and an ad for Traveler's Language Courses, as well as to no-count ads for the New York Times Store. Let's count this as 30% of a page. We're in a good mood.

Page 23: An essay called "Can't. Stop. Writing." But. No. Ads.

Page 24: This is the shocker, folks. The back page: a primo space to put ads. And what do we have? An ad for a book about Ted Kennedy, whom we love, but it seems to be from The Boston Globe although the book's published by Simon & Schuster. It's by a team of Boston Globe reporters. The Boston Globe is owned by the New York Times Company, just as we own The Los Angeles World-Telegram & Star.

We need a decision from the ref. Ref?

He says it doesn't count as an ad! No ad on the back page of this week's New York Times Book Review! The crowd goes wild!

Adding it up: Last week we had seven and a half pages of ads out of 28 pages. This week, out of 24 pages, only 3.95 pages of ads. (Check our arithmetic and comment if we're wrong.) Last week we had 4 full-page ads alone. Sell your stock! As of yesterday, they're not giving dividends anyway.

We are sending a red velvet cake from Brooklyn's CakeMan Raven to the Times display advertising department to tide them over until the layoff notices arrive.

Don't forget to eat the crumbs, guys! It's going to be a long recession!

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