Page Turner: 'WSJ' Preps Book Review

The Wall Street Journal is preparing to take its rivalry with The New York Times to the next level with its plan to launch a stand-alone book review section sometime in the next month.

This surprising development makes the WSJ one of the few newspapers to invest in literary pursuits. Most other major newspapers are dropping their venerable book review sections as unprofitable.

The new WSJ book review section will be headed by Robert Messenger, who previously served in top editorial positions at The Weekly Standard, The Atlantic and The New York Sun, according to the New York Observer. The pull-out section will appear in Saturday editions of the WSJ, along with another new section that has yet to be revealed.

The plan to launch a new book review section comes close on the heels of other moves that are unmistakably taking aim at the NYT. In April, the WSJ launched a New York-focused section to compete with NYT's metro coverage, hoping to take as much as 10% to 20% of the NYT's Manhattan-focused retail and luxury advertising.



The WSJ's 12-page New York section is said to employ roughly 35 editorial staffers, covering real estate, culture, business, sports and metro news.

In March, the WSJ has also honed in on some of the NYT 's prime retail distribution, with WSJ racks appearing next to NYT displays in 450 Starbucks locations around New York City and the surrounding metropolitan area, including venues in New York State, New Jersey, Connecticut and even Pennsylvania.

The NYT's vulnerability to the WSJ attack is due, at least in part, to its own aggressive cost-cutting campaign over the last couple of years, which axed several sections, including "Metro" and "City."

But the NYT isn't sitting idly by; it responded to WSJ 's launch of a city section with a fierce ad campaign in media industry trades highlighting its dominance in desirable reader demographics. In early March, it announced a deal with digital out-of-home RMG Networks (formerly Danoo) to introduce a digital place-based media channel, Today.

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