WILD Book Club Wraps

Image Credit: George Burns/Harpo, Inc.

The first installment of Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 concludes this Sunday, capped by Oprah’s two-hour interview with the author of Wild, Cheryl Strayed on OWN’s Super Soul Sunday (11 a.m. ET/PT; also on Oprah Radio on Sirius and the club’s Facebook page).

Will she announce a new title? Winfrey is not saying, but publishers hope she will continue the club. Even though, as USA Today writesWild did not get as large a boost from Book Club 2.0 as titles did from the old club, sales still rose significantly. Prior to the announcement, Wild had sold 85,000 copies. After it was chosen, sales jumped by approximately 185,000 copies. In the days of Book Club 1.0,  publishers would print an additional 500,000 copes of an Oprah pick.

Curiously, however, a reduced Oprah book club may be a good thing. USA Today quotes a study that shows overall sales of fiction declined when the old club was in session. Why? The audience may have stopped buying other, “easier” titles because they were spending more time concentrating on Tolstoy or Toni Morrison. The author of the study, Northwestern University economist, Craig Garthwaite, told the NYT,

The results suggest there’s a fixed market of readers. Oprah isn’t bringing new readers into publishing; she’s just shifting around people who were already participating in the market. And in that situation, there are always going to be winners and losers.

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