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December 5, 1966


JAMA. 1966;198(10):1118. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110230134036

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Of making many books there is no end, but of making space for book reviews there is sharp limitation. This endless production of books, coupled with the restriction of journal space, introduces a difficult problem: Which books to select for review?

One answer seems obvious: Discuss books which have the greatest interest for the readers. But with more than 200,000 subscribers (although the number who read The Book Forum remains unknown), virtually any topic whatsoever may arouse interest in some one. And while an editor must somehow estimate the degree of interest a book may have, this is not enough, for he must also consider the significance of a book even when its immediate appeal might be narrow. An editor cannot satisfy all tastes. He will necessarily make selections which reflect his own subjective estimates and reactions.

What should an editor do with "bad" books? There is a great tendency