A very special episode of Letter from the New York Times Books Editors

This is misty-eye-making for those of us in the business, even if it amounts to a secular “thoughts and prayers” type thing. It’s nice to have some paper-of-record recognition that your world has a soupçon more flaming shit in it than the next guy. I’m so glad I don’t have a book coming out this year. Even the one I have coming next year is frankly up in the air. If you’re a Bookninja pal/reader with a book coming out now, send me an email and I’ll see if I can’t note it here.

Apart from the obvious life-and-death matters at stake, we at the Book Review are especially concerned for those whose livelihoods depend on books. We think of the authors whose book tours have been canceled, authors who depend on income from teaching, authors who need money from speaking engagements to supplement their advances. All of those opportunities, temporarily — and in some cases, permanently — gone.

Our hearts go out to the debut authors of the season, many of whom spent years, perhaps a lifetime, waiting for the dream moment when their first book would make its way into the world. We think of the authors whose publication dates have been delayed, complicating not only their financial lives but all other plans, professional and personal. We think of the authors whose new books are coming out right now, at a moment when the realities of everyday life can feel all-consuming, and when libraries are shuttered and many bookstores have closed or laid off workers.

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