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Newsroom leadership of the Washington Post just sent out a memo on the death of Book World. Didn’t have much choice in the matter, considering that the New York Times‘s Motoko Rich had the scoop all over the news earlier today.

See the announcement after the jump.

The announcement makes a glancing reference to a product that City Desk reported on a while back: a special Washington Post book digest that would be sold to struggling papers everywhere.

Former Book World Editor Marie Arana reports today via e-mail that this digest took flight this past Monday.

Here’s how it works, according to Arana: “Select BW content is being syndicated in a fully designed broadsheet page, using shortened versions of BW reviews. The idea was to sell book publishers’ ads into it as a revenue building engine, but with publishers in such disarray it wasn’t possible to sell enough committed ads in advance. So that model was dropped at the end of last year. What was launched was a “soft” version, which will send BW Digest out with the expectation that local papers who subscribe will fill the ad space themselves. Eventually, it is hoped that book publishers will want to sell ads into it. But, as I don’t have to tell you, the book publishing industry is topsy turvy right now.”

Washington Post memo on Book World

Colleagues, we are announcing today a couple of changes in our Sunday paper and the way we cover books and literature.

Starting on Feb. 22, our book coverage will appear in Style throughout the week and in the Outlook section on Sundays. We will end Book World’s run as a stand-alone print section but will revamp and rebrand our books section online as Book World, where we’ll offer readers a robust, well-organized
site dedicated to our coverage and reviews of books.

This new arrangement recognizes the tremendous importance of books, ideas, literature and reading to our audience. In the daily paper, Style will run a daily “Book World” review, as well as coverage of literature and publishing. Big events in the book world, as well as interviews or profiles of authors, will be featured in Style, more often on the cover and more prominently than in the past.

On Sundays, Outlook will become the primary venue for books coverage, with a focus on non-fiction books and ideas alongside its traditional package of lively journalism and thoughtful essays from outside contributors. Outlook will carry Jon Yardley’s column, our Best Seller list and other features.

In addition, we will continue to publish occasional special tabloid-format Book World sections on Sundays, built around themes such as Summer Reading or Children’s Books. We also have started a syndicated product called “Book Digest” that will bring Post reviews to other newspapers around the

Running this coverage will be Rachel Shea, whose skills and knowledge have been honed during her successful tenure as Marie Arana’s deputy and acting successor. The Book World team remains intact and the group’s mission will be to serve all Post venues—Style, Outlook, the special tab sections and
our online Book World section. This is a model for how we want to approach a number of coverage areas at The Post: with reporting groups that serve all our platforms, in print and online.

In addition to these changes in the news department, the editorial and op-ed pages that now appear Sundays in Outlook will migrate from that section into the A section. We will add a third page of opinion on Sundays.
The Close To Home page, which features opinion contributions from and about people in our area, will move to the Sunday Metro section and, like all of this content, will continue to be run by the editorial page.

The changes outlined here will take effect in the third week of February.