Idol Chatter

070717_lede_harrypotter_f01.jpg Being a native New Yorker, I have always admired the NY Times as the venerable authority on current events, movies, dining, and books. Unfortunately, the unexpected and unwelcomed surprise of seeing the NYTimes post an early (late Wednesday night) book review of “Deathly Hallows” plummeted my respect for the newspaper.
Having just blogged on the escalating Spoilerist problem, I was disappointed–and miffed–to see the NYTimes jump the gun and talk about a book millions are still waiting to get their hands on and to read.

While it’s the norm for newspapers to review books often before release and publication dates, in this instance the NYTimes should have saved their review for early Saturday morning, after the book’s release. After all, if their movie reviews are published the day major movies open, why can’t they do so with this particular book review?
In printing the review they added fuel to the fire; they added unnecessary temptation to those trying to resist the barrage of Harry spoilers inundating the web, the newspapers, and the magazines.
In a Bloomsbury press release, even JK Rowling was quoted as saying:

I am staggered that American newspapers have decided to publish purported spoilers in the form of reviews in complete disregard of the wishes of literally millions of readers, particularly children, who wanted to reach Harry’s final destination by themselves, in their own time. I am incredibly grateful to all those newspapers, booksellers and others who have chosen not to attempt to spoil Harry’s last adventure for fans.

While I managed not to read the book review–as difficult as it was–I feel let down by the NYTimes. The book review won’t deter anyone from buying the book, but at least it gave the paper a nice boost in traffic (which might have been the real motive all along). As a colleague pointed out, “Guess which piece is on the NYTimes Top 10 Emailed list?”

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