Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Oprah's New Book Club?

Oprah Winfrey's Book Club will live on in some form on her new cable network, OWN. USA Today reported that "America's most popular reader" said she is "going to try to develop a show for books and authors" even though the book club shows seldom garnered big ratings. "Some things you do because it is necessary. We've done okay with them. We found the more I could connect the author and the book to the audience, the better the numbers would be."

USA Today called the book club's sales numbers "beyond compare," citing Fordham University marketing professor Al Greco's estimate that sales of the 70 Oprah editions since 1996 totaled about 55 million copies.

"She made book discussions interesting, educational and entertaining," Greco said. "Literature professors can be interesting and educational, but are they entertaining?"

Little, Brown publisher Michael Pietsch observed that Winfrey "didn't originate the idea of book clubs, but more than anyone, she has spread the idea of reading a book as a shared community.... She's a woman reader, and it's mostly women readers who responded to her selections. But she's open to all kinds of reading pleasures, from Toni Morrison to Jonathan Franzen."

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