Hard to believe, but we launched this website 50 weeks ago today.

Since that day, we have published almost 400 pieces, using somewhere between 50,000 and 75 million hours of labor to make it all happen. We want to thank all the writers, reviewers, interviewers and interviewees, editors, web designers and engineers, copyeditors, factcheckers, audio engineers and audio editors, filmmakers and film editors, fundraisers, board members, newsletter compilers, essayists, inputters, proofreaders, attorneys, artists, art directors, webmasters, marketing staff, press people, and interns, most of whom have generously worked for nothing or next to nothing to get this big goose off the ground. And of course we want to thank all the people who have contributed financially, in amounts from $25 to $25,000.

In two weeks, the new site will launch, designed by Taj Tedrow with Ann Hough, Thomas Bailey, and Jake Puffer at TedPerez.com, after preliminary designs by Margot Frankel. It is a thing of beauty, LARB 2.0.

And now, the pitch: We are reader-supported. Without your help we could not have come this far, and we thank you. When the new site launches we will make some money from advertising, but the majority of what it takes to run the site, including the majority of what it takes to pay writers and artists for their work, will continue to come from grants, gifts, and memberships.

Memberships? you ask. Yes. For $3.50 a month, you can become a Member of Los Angeles Review of Books, and for your monthly donation you will receive our ongoing series of e-publications for free, as well as other members-only offers. And, of course, the satisfaction of knowing you are part of building a lasting literary institution dedicated to the best that is being thought and written.

Between now and the launch, we will be offering 10% off for the life of your membership. We’re hoping to sign up 1,000 new members in the next two weeks. [Click here to become a Member.]

Or become a Sustaining Member — and be recognized on the website — by donating $500 or more through our normal online system (via the UCR Foundation), and get free membership for life! [click here to DONATE]

We are devoting our days to proofreading and beta-testing the news site, and in lieu of new content, below find the very first post we published, from April 18th, 2011. In it Ben Ehrenreich reports getting 11.8 million hits Googling “death of the book”; today that phrase returns 56 million hits. But no matter how often its demise is reported, the book endures.
— Tom Lutz

The Death of the Book

Pity the book. It’s dead again. Last I checked, Googling “death of the book” produced 11.8 million matches. The day before it was 11.6 milion. It’s getting unseemly. Books were once such handsome things. Suddenly they seem clunky, heavy, almost fleshy in their gross materiality. Their pages grow brittle. Their ink fades. Their spines collapse. They are so pitiful, they might as well be human.