Started in 1976, The Midwest Book Review is an online monthly publication aimed at librarians, booksellers, as well as the general reading public. Its mission is to promote literacy, library usage, and small press publishing, which is why this publication is so popular among small publishers, self-published authors, and academic presses. In this fascinating interview, Editor-in-Chief James A. Cox talks about the history and policies of the Midwest Book Review, and he also answers some important questions about the craft and ethics of book reviewing.
Thanks for being here today, Jim. How long have you been reviewing?
I began reviewing books in September, 1976. That means I've been doing this for the past 32 years. During that time the forums utilized by the Midwest Book Review have included AM radio, shortwave radio, television, library newsletters, Amazon.com, Internet databases, and the Midwest Book Review website.
Please tell us about Midwest Book Review. How and when did it get started?
My daughter Bethany went off to college and got her degree in Computer Science. She came back home and dug me out onto something called the Internet in the early 1980s. With her help the Midwest Book Review website was created. Bethany is the Midwest Book Review's managing editor and webmaster.
What makes Midwest Book Review stand out among so many other online review sites?
The Midwest Book Review began with the mission of promoting literacy, library usage, and small press publishing. As an educational organization we developed our web site at Midwest Book Review as a multi-purpose resource with the goal of helping writers to write better, publishers to publish more successfully, booksellers and librarians to stock their shelves more effectively, and readers to read with greater satisfaction. By making our web site as content heavy as possible, constantly updating and expanding it monthly, and enlisting the support of our volunteers, staff, and web site visitors, the Midwest Book Review web site has become the invaluable and comprehensive resource to authors, publishers, librarians, booksellers, and readers that it is today.
What is the most challenging aspect of running a review site?
Properly organizing the steadily increasing numbers of information and resource links, as well as 'how to' articles that comprise the contents of our web site. As the web site gets larger and larger with more and more content, the struggle is to keep it as 'user friendly' as possible.