Publication analysis

About the publication

Title: Booklist

ISSN: 0006-73851

Purpose, objective, or mission: The core mission of Booklist is to “assist public and school librarians in selecting new works.” In support of this mission, they publish 8,000 reviews and related features each year. An American Library Association (ALA) publication, Booklist has been considered an authoritative and reliable resource in the field for over 100 years.2


Target audience: School and public libraries (specifically collection-development and readers’-advisory staff), library patrons, and book lovers.3

Publisher: American Library Association.4

Peer reviewed? No.5

Type: LIS professional publication.6

Medium: Print magazine with electronic supplement. Booklist Online access is available free to all Booklist print magazine subscribers. Reviews and articles posted to the homepage are free, as are searches to see what’€™s been reviewed. To view full text of reviews & features, you need to be a subscriber or sign up for a free trial. However, Booklist Online makes numerous features available for free, without subscription and without login.7

Content: Book reviews, author columns, interviews, top-ten lists, recommendations for adult and children readers as well as LIS-related media and reference books and tools, blogs.8

Frequency of publication: The print magazine is printed 22 times per year. Website content is updated frequently.9

About the publication’s submission guidelines

Location of submission guidelines:

Types of contributions accepted: Book reviews of less than 175 words under the following sections: Adult Books, Books for Youth, Graphic Novels and Audio. Freelance reviews are assigned by editors; unsolicited reviews and articles are not accepted.10

Submission and review process: From their site, “Contact only the specific editor for whom you wish to work and provide relevant samples of your writing.”11 Once reviews are submitted to the editor, “All contributions will be edited for length, style, and considerations unique to our audience. Editors communicate significant changes to contributors when possible; however, due to tight and frequent deadlines, we reserve the right to edit and publish commissioned work without consulting the author.”12

Editorial tone: Informational. Reviews must be written in a “lively and engaging fashion.”13

Style guide used: There is no specific style guide indicated, but detailed writing guidelines can be found on the “Writing for Booklist” page under the “Booklist Reviewing Guidelines” sub-heading.14

Conclusion: Evaluation of publication’s potential for LIS authors

Booklist holds strong potential for developing a portfolio that demonstrates skilled, concise writing under strict guidelines. Regular contributors may become known and trusted reviewers in both LIS professional circles as well as among lay readers. Browsing the reviewers’ brief biographies finds that reviewers come from a wide range of backgrounds that suggest LIS students and authors who are not librarians would be welcome here.15 This would be an especially great place to start writing for someone hoping to work more in book reviewing.


Audience analysis

About the publication’s readers

Publication circulation: Per the 2019 media kit, Booklist has a circulation of 11,000 with a pass-along circulation of 77,000. Information was not available for the online equivalent.16

Audience location and language or cultural considerations: Though produced in United States, Booklist is available worldwide online.17 Content is presented in American English.18

Reader characteristics: The audience is comprised of engaged and dedicated regular Booklist readers who are always looking for inspiration for collection development and readers’ advisory decisions. According to the 2019 media kit, over half of readers work in K-12 school libraries, while another 20% work in public libraries.19

Knowledge of LIS subject matter: Though most readers work in libraries, LIS knowledge and jargon will be largely irrelevant here. Readers want to know context, content, and recommendations about reviewed materials; it would be appropriate for authors to indicate what demographic audience a book would be popular with or what kinds of collections a book would help to develop.20

Conclusion: Analysis of reader characteristics and their potential impact on authors

While readers of this publication may vary considerably in education and experience, they will consistently know their subject matter quite well and may already have some idea of what kinds of materials they are looking for. Authors should review material only that they are very familiar with, and should therefore carefully select the subject editor with whom they wish to work. The fact that books, not LIS theories, remain the audience’s focus should allow new LIS professionals and LIS students the freedom to practice developing their professional writing without the pressure of writing from professional or educational expertise.

Last updated: July 5, 2019


Show 20 footnotes

  1. ProQuest, “Booklist,” Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory, accessed July 5, 2019,
  2. American Library Association, “Frequently Asked Questions,” Booklist Online, accessed July 5, 2019,
  3. American Library Association, “Frequently Asked Questions.”
  4. ProQuest, Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory.
  5. American Library Association, “Frequently Asked Questions.”
  6. ProQuest, Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory.
  7. American Library Association, “Frequently Asked Questions.”
  8. American Library Association, “Frequently Asked Questions.”
  9. American Library Association, “Frequently Asked Questions.”
  10. American Library Association, “Writing for Booklist,” Booklist Online, accessed July 5, 2019,
  11. American Library Association, “Writing for Booklist.”
  12. American Library Association, “Writing for Booklist.”
  13. American Library Association, “Writing for Booklist.”
  14. American Library Association, “Writing for Booklist.”
  15. American Library Association, “Reviewers,” Booklist Online, accessed July 5, 2019,
  16. American Library Association, 2019, “Advertise,” Booklist Online, accessed July 5, 2019,
  17. American Library Association, “Advertise.”
  18. ProQuest, Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory.
  19. American Library Association, “Advertise.”
  20. American Library Association, “Writing for Booklist.”
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