National Public Radio is significantly expanding the books coverage on NPR.org, says Publishers Weekly. They’ll run weekly book reviews and, to that end, have hired six new book reviewers, including Jessa Crispin, creator of the well-known, tart-tongued book blog, Bookslut, and John Freeman, former head of the National Book Critics Circle and a popular freelancer whose work often appears in the Dallas Morning News.
“We’re building up our book coverage because book content really works for our audience,” NPR senior supervising producer Joe Matazzoni explained. “Books are among the top three topics attracting traffic to the NPR site,” he said. While the content on NPR.org is often coordinated through such radio shows as All Things Considered, Matazzoni explained that the website also has a mandate to generate original online content and the new features on the book page are part of that ongoing effort. Matazzoni said the site’s standalone coverage “is a real model for us going forward and allows the website to adapt material more specifically for the web.”
In addition to more reviews, the website is expanding its Book Tour feature, which takes recordings of author readings done at Washington, D.C.’s Politics & Prose bookstore and edits and repackages them into 40- minute podcasts available through the NPR.org.
(Full disclosure: I’ve written book reviews for NPR. org, I’ve edited Book Tour podcasts, I know John and have edited his work. As for Jessa, I’ve served on a Texas Book Festival panel with her. Small world.)