Yesterday it was announced that "Kirkus Reviews" will cease publication.
It's likely that you've never heard of that publication, unless you are a librarian, a writer, or otherwise in the book business, but "Kirkus" is one of the few places where books are regularly reviewed. Here's a link to a story on its departure can be found here, in School Library Journal (thanks for the link, Hope).
Known for its bluntness (It called my first published novel "A harebrained tale not even a desperate housewife could love"--ah well), "Kirkus" was a bi-weekly must-read for retail book purchasers and librarians.
How does this impact you? Well, even avid readers may not realize it, but if a book isn't written by Stephen King or John Grisham, it is unlikely to be reviewed much at all. Early comments in "Kirkus Reviews" or "Publishers Weekly" --the two publications known for voluminous reviews -- can help create the snowball effect that causes books by unknown authors to come out of nowhere and catch fire (to mix my heat metaphors).
It will be missed.
My questions to you: How did you hear about the last few books you've read? Have reviews ever convinced you to give a book a shot?