Ever wonder just exactly where all those editorial reviews from come from? Slate has the inside scoop:

You’ve probably never read these magazines, even if you’ve seen their names on book jackets. But they’re helping determine what you read. Together, they make up the big four of book industry trade journals, aimed at publishing insiders: newspaper and magazine editors, bookstore and library book-buyers, literary agents, and film industry types scanning them for movie rights. Long important as behind-the-scenes power brokers, they became even more powerful in the 1990s, when online booksellers signed deals with them.

This article also contains a link to a wonderful website run by independent booksellers, called Book Sense 76, which is a list of interesting new books with brief reviews.