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More bad news for American book coverage

It looks like the rumors were true about The Washington Post‘s standalone book supplement. According to The New York Times, Book World will cease publication after Feb. 15.

Book World was one of the last remaining stand-alone book review sections in the country, along with The New York Times Book Review and The San Francisco Chronicle’s Books section. The Washington Post‘s move comes as the company, like most other newspaper businesses across the country, has been hobbled by a protracted downturn in advertising.

According to reports from Book World employees, the last issue of Book World will appear in its tabloid print version on Feb. 15 but will continue to be published online as a distinct entity. In the printed newspaper, Sunday book content will be split between Outlook, the opinion and commentary section, and Style & Arts.

Meanwhile, things aren’t looking very good for Quill & Quire‘s counterpart in the U.S., Publishers Weekly. The New York Times is also reporting that PW editor-in-chief Sara Nelson has been laid off, along with 7% of the magazine’s staff.

Ms. Nelson, 52, spent four years heading up the magazine and had become a lively presence within the industry, speaking frequently on panels and advocating forcefully for books in her weekly column.

According to a statement from [the magazine’s owners] Reed Business Information … as a result of the restructuring, Brian Kenney, editor-in-chief of School Library Journal, will now be editorial director of that magazine along with Publishers Weekly and Library Journal.

It probably doesn’t need to be said that forcing one guy to edit three magazines is madness. The quality of all three titles is sure to suffer, no?