Thursday, July 28, 2016

Interview with James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief, Midwest Book Review

1.      How is the Midwest Book Review serving the book publishing community today? We produce nine monthly book review publications; provide reviews to Gale Cengage Learning for their "Book Review Index" database serving thousands of library systems throughout the United States and Canad; publish two monthly advice columns on writing and publishing (Beth Cox Report & Jim Cox Report); respond to individual questions from individuals from the writing and publishing community; maintain a massive web site specifically designed to promote literacy, library usage, and small press publishing; give priority consideration whenever possible to reviewing books from self-published authors and small presses.

2.      Jim, how has the Midwest Book Review evolved over the years? We began as a weekly radio show in Madison, Wisconsin in 1976. In 1978 we added a local weekly television show on Madison's cable network. In 1980 launched our first monthly book review publication (The Bookwatch) designed specifically for Wisconsin libraries. That original print publication evolved over the years to become nine on-line publications. It was in 1980 that we also launched our Midwest Book Review web site.

3.      What do you love about books? I enjoy learning from non-fiction and being entertained by fiction. Reading books is a form of life-long learning and I'm insatiably curious about the world around me and the people that inhabit it.

4.      Where do you see the book industry heading? The digital revolution is here to stay. Print editions of books will continue to lose market share over the next two decades as the older and print oriented generations (of which at 73 years old I am a member) die off and are replaced by aging millennials who are comfortable with mobile devices such as Kindles and Smart Phones.

5.      How important are book reviews in today’s world? "Make or Break" important -- especially if authors and publishers and their publicists become knowledgeable and adroit as utilizing social media to get the word out to the general reading public.

6.      What do you look for in the books that you review? Well-crafted use of the English language. Originality and talent in storytelling with respect to fiction. "Reader Friendly" organization and presentation with respect to non-fiction.  Cover Art is every bit as important as interior content with respect to a book's commercial viability.

7.      Are there any hot genres or book trends that you are seeing? Adult coloring books are red hot right now. Cookbooks are perennial favorites. In fiction, Romance continues to dominate as a genre. One dramatic trend that now clearly established is that of authors and publishers coming out with a Kindle edition as well as their print (hardcover or paperback) edition. Still one more trend that has continued to strengthen in terms of book marketing is the dominance of as an on-line seller; and that traditional brick-and-board bookstores having to have an on-line operation to supplement (and even make possible) their continued economic survival.

For more information, please consult:

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2016.

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