It "soft" launched yesterday: http://lareviewofbooks.org/
And its raison d'être is as follows:
The great tradition of the American comprehensive book review, in magazine and newspaper form, has been in its death throes for years, replaced in partial and inadequate ways by crowd-sourced or user-generated forums for book talk on the web. There are numerous blogs, some quite excellent (and we will have deep linking relationships with the best of them), but very little in the way of full-range book reviewing--rigorously edited, carefully curated, deeply informed discourse by experts in their respective fields--has been mounted to take the place of the dwindling print reviews. The disappearance of the newspaper book review supplement (papers in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Des Moines, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington and elsewhere have shuttered or radically shrunk theirs) has been accompanied by an explosion of titles in the book market. The net result: twenty times as many titles are published each year than were in 1980, and we have one twentieth of the serious book reviews.
Stepping into this void is the LOS ANGELES REVIEW OF BOOKS, which, as its name suggests, looks out at the world of books from its perch on the Pacific Rim.
What do you think? Where do you normally turn for in-depth book reviews written by experts?
Me, too. Just as with movie reviews, I don't always agree with reviewers' assessments, so I generally make decisions based on the recommendations of people I trust. However, I do like the idea of something other than the NYT to which I can refer and will check out this new option.
I agree with #2, but I use an English newspaper, The Guardian, for my book reviews. I also go by personal recommendation when I buy books however. I have been so disappointed in the past by reviews that have said that a book is amazing, and yet when I have bought it, it has been mediocre at best.
I typically only read book reviews (written by professionals, that is) that are in The New York Times, mainly because I don't have a lot of time on my hands to read much of anything else on a regular basis.
Probably fair to say that I tend to buy books more often based on the recommendation of friends or because an author is interviewed on The Daily Show rather than because of a professional book review.