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Kirkus Reviews (or Kirkus Media) is an American book review magazine founded in 1933 by Virginia Kirkus (1893–1980).[1] The magazine is headquartered in New York City.[2]

Kirkus Reviews
Kirkus logo.png
Editor Virginia Kirkus (1933 – July 1962)
Categories Book reviews
Frequency Semimonthly
Publisher Virginia Kirkus Bookshop Service, Virginia Kirkus Service, Inc. (from 1962), and others
Kirkus Media, LLC (from 2010)
First issue January 1933; 84 years ago (1933-01)
Country United States
Based in New York City, New York, U.S.
Language English
ISSN 1948-7428



Kirkus Reviews, published on the first and 15th of each month, previews books prior to their publication. Kirkus reviews over 7,000 titles per year.[1][3]

In 2014, Kirkus Reviews started the Kirkus Prize. It is one of the richest literary awards in the world, bestowing $50,000 prizes annually to authors of fiction, nonfiction, and young readers’ literature.[4]

Influence and receptionEdit

Motoko Rich noted in The New York Times on December 11, 2009, that Kirkus is "typically not seen by the general public – except in blurbs on books or excerpted on", and "Kirkus reviews were often used by librarians and booksellers when deciding how to stock their shelves." Target market members who read or valued Kirkus reviews reported also reading Kirkus' "rivals Publishers Weekly, Booklist, San Francisco Book Review and Library Journal", as well as "talking with publishers’ sales representatives and reading advance galleys, when deciding what to buy." And, Motoko reported: "Authors seemed to have a mixed relationship with Kirkus. Not surprisingly, it had to do with what the reviewers said about their books."[5]

Kirkus launched a fee-for-review program in 2005, originally called Kirkus Discoveries and now called Kirkus Indie. The program allows authors or publishers to purchase a review from Kirkus, but only one or two of the books reviewed is included in the regular Kirkus Reviews publication.


Virginia Kirkus was hired by Harper & Brothers to establish a children's book department in 1926. The department was eliminated as an economy measure in 1932 (for about a year), so Kirkus left and soon established her own book review service.[6] Initially, she arranged to get galley proofs of "20 or so" books in advance of their publication; almost 80 years later, the service was receiving hundreds of books weekly and reviewing about 100.[3]

Initially titled Bulletin from Kirkus' Bookshop Service from 1933 to 1954, the title was changed to Bulletin from Virginia Kirkus' Service with the January 1, 1955 issue, and successively shortened to Virginia Kirkus' Service with the December 15, 1964 issue, and Kirkus Service in 1967, before it attained its definitive title, Kirkus Reviews, with the January 1, 1969, issue.[citation needed] It was sold to The New York Review of Books in 1970 and later[when?] sold by the Review to Barbara Bader and Josh Rubins. In 1985, magazine consultant James B. Kobak acquired Kirkus Reviews.[7] David LeBreton bought Kirkus from Kobak in 1993.[8] BPI Communications, owned by Dutch publisher VNU, bought Kirkus from LeBreton in 1999.[9] At the end of 2009, the company announced the end of operations for Kirkus.[1] The journal was purchased from VNU (by then renamed The Nielsen Company, or Nielson N.V.) on February 10, 2010 by businessman Herbert Simon. Terms were not disclosed. It was thereafter renamed Kirkus Media, and book industry veteran Marc Winkelman was made publisher.[10]


  1. ^ a b c Rich, Motoko (December 11, 2009). "End of Kirkus Reviews Brings Anguish and Relief". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on November 21, 2011. Retrieved November 21, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Contact Us". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved January 22, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "Kirkus Reviews History". Retrieved November 15, 2012. 
  4. ^ Colin Dwyer (2014-09-30). "First-Ever Kirkus Prize Picks 18 Finalists : The Two-Way". NPR. Retrieved 2015-11-23. 
  5. ^ Rich, Motoko (December 2009). "End of Kirkus Reviews Brings Anguish and Relief". The New York Times. 
  6. ^ Marcus, Leonard S. (2008). Minders of Make-Believe. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. pp. 104, 111. ISBN 978-0-395-67407-9. 
  7. ^ Dougherty, Philip H. (April 4, 1985). "Consultant Acquires Kirkus Reviews". The New York Times. Retrieved November 12, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Kirkus Reviews being acquired". Publishers Weekly. August 23, 1993. Archived from the original on May 21, 2013. Retrieved November 12, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Kirkus Reviews Acquired By Publisher of Billboard". August 2, 1999. Archived from the original on January 27, 2013. Retrieved November 12, 2012. 
  10. ^ Rich, Motoko (February 10, 2010). "Kirkus Gets a New Owner – From the N.B.A". The New York Times. Retrieved March 22, 2012. 

Further readingEdit

  • "Kirkus Reviews splits from NYRB". Library Journal. 107. June 15, 1982. p. 1164. ISSN 0363-0277. 
  • "Kirkus Reviews closes". Library Journal. 135.1. January 2010. pp. 16–17. 
  • "Kirkus Reviews finds buyer". Library Journal. 135.2. February 2010. p. 13. 

External linksEdit