Archive for the ‘Oprah Book Club’ Category

Oprah Doubles Up: New Book Club Pick On The Way

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

Untitled_Oprah's_Book_Club_2.0Colson Whitehead’s time in the Oprah spotlight looks like it will be brief. Shortly after picking The Underground Railroad for her book club, Oprah has already picked her next title, and it goes on sale next week.

B&T recently notified librarians of the strict Sept. 6 on sale date for “Oprah Book Club September 2016 (9781250128546-hardcover, 9781427287236-audio CD).” That ISBN links to a St. Martin’s book classified as “world contemporary fiction (general)” running 263 pages. Ingram has it listed as “Fiction/General,”  with a slightly longer page count of 272.

The Wall Street Journal was on top of the story earlier this month, correctly reporting that it would be a hardcover from a Macmillan imprint and speculating on contenders.

They guessed Jonathan Safran Foer’s Here I Am (Macmillan/FSG; Sept. 6; 552 pages; fiction) but the author wrote back to them saying “Nope.”

Another shot was The Story of a Brief Marriage by Anuk Arudpragasam (Macmillan/Flatiron; Sept. 6; 208 pages; fiction), but her agent said “Oh, god, I wish.”

Then came Glennon Doyle Melton’s Love Warrior (Macmillan/Flatiron; Sept. 6; 272 pages; memoir). Based on length (if you go by Ingram’s page count) and pub. date, this seems like the best bet, but if B&T and Ingram are correct, the pick is fiction and Love Warrior is a memoir. A spokesperson for Macmillan’s Flatiron Books was noncommittal, responding, “I can’t confirm or deny anything about it, I’m afraid.”

WSJ points out that Winfrey has connections to Flatiron Books. They will publish her first cookbook, Food, Health and Happiness (Jan 3, 2017), she has a deal with them  for a memoir (recently postponed indefinitely) as well as her own imprint.

Whatever the title turns out to be, booksellers are happy and hoping the quick succession of picks means Oprah is getting back to frequent selections. Rebecca Fitting, co-owner of Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn told the WSJ, “It would be amazing if she started this up again. It would be amazing for books and booksellers.”

Signs point in that direction. Two picks announced just over a month apart represents a major increase. Oprah only picked one book in 2015, the less than blockbuster, Ruby by Cynthia Bond. 2014 also saw just one selection, Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings. No titles were selected in 2013 and only two in 2012, spread out over six months, Cheryl Strayed ‘s Wild in June of that year and in December Ayana Mathis’s The Twelve Tribes of Hattie.

While her reign as queen of the hit makers has hit a few bumps, Oprah still has selling power. WSJ reports that Doubleday “increased the print run for The Underground Railroad to 200,000 from 75,000 after receiving the call from Winfrey in April [and it] shot to No. 4 on after the announcement.” It is currently #1 on the NYT Hardcover Fiction list.

Prior to the Oprah attention the highest level a hardcover by Whitehead reached on the NYT list was #16, for his 2012 novel Zone One.

The Oprah Ripple Effect

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

9780804188241_p0_v1_s600These days, it takes more than an Oprah pick to make a book a sensation.

The most recent Oprah 2.0 Book Club pick, Cynthia Bond’s debut novel Ruby (RH/Hogarth; RH Audio; RH large type announced for March 17;  OverDrive Sample). announced two weeks ago, reached a high of #98 on Amazon’s sales rankings then dropped out of the Top 100 (it hit the March 1 NYT Trade Fiction list at #7).

After a feature about the author on NPR’s Morning Edition yesterday, it rose again, this time to #82. The story focuses on the author’s financial struggles as a single mother while she worked to complete the book. Bond was widely compared to Toni Morrison at the time of the novel’s publication, which racked up a number of starred reviews, and received fairly wide attention for a literary debut, but sales did little to change the author’s life until Oprah came along.

opr_cvr-lgAnd more is coming. NPR notes, “Because today’s market is much more segmented now than when her original book club began, Winfrey is personally promoting Ruby in her magazine, on her cable network and in interviews.”

The upcoming March issue of O Magazine features Oprah’s interview with the author (sneak peek here). By the way, we’re a little scared by that cover. Please don’t tell us that Oprah has discovered the life-changing magic of tidying up (looking more closely, Oprah’s approach is clearly more American, with rules like, “Know What It’s Worth” before throwing anything out.)

Ruby is a first in a projected trilogy, which may be a good thing for Oprah, who bought both the movie and TV rights.

Oprah Picks a New Book Club Title

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

9780804188241_p0_v1_s600Cynthia Bond’s debut novel Ruby (Hogarth, 2014; RH Audio OverDrive Sample; to be released in trade paperback today, 978-0804188241) is the newest title in Oprah Winfrey’s Book Club 2.0 (read Oprah’s announcement here).

Winfrey says she loved the opening pages so much she saved the book until she had time to focus on it alone, according to The Associated Press, holding the book until “I was in bed with the flu to start reading it.” She also bought the film and television rights to the novel and will feature an interview with Bond in the March issue of O magazine, due out next week. The Book Club 2.0 site includes  a preview of that interview and a reading group.

Bond was widely compared to Toni Morrison at the time of the novel’s publication, it racked up a number of starred reviews, and received fairly wide attention for a literary debut.

According to the AP story, 250,000 paperback copies will be published by Hogarth. At this point distributor listings are blind, under ISBN 978-0804188241.

Oprah’s Third Book Club 2.0 Pick

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Invention of WingsOprah has announced the next title in her Book Club 2.0 series, Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings, (Penguin/Viking; Penguin Audio; Recorded Books; Thorndike), frustrating some readers because it won’t be available for a few more weeks (pub date is Jan. 7).

Librarians, however, can request eGalleys via Netgalley.

Previous titles in Oprah’s Book Club 2.0, were Wild by Cheryl Strayed (RH/Knopf) and Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis (RH/Knopf).

Worth Watching: Oprah’s Interview with Ayana Mathis

Monday, February 4th, 2013

Yesterday, Ayana Mathis, author of Oprah Book Club 2.0 selection, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, (RH/Knopf), sat down for a thoughtful interview on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. Among the highlights, a tour of the Iowa Writers Workshop, how Mathis was influenced by Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, (Random House, 2010), books that “wreck you,” and a special segment at the end with Ann Patchett celebrating her store, Parnassus Books, in Nashville. Oprah did not announce a new title for the club.

The full interview is on the Oprah site.

Oprah Interviews Ayana This Sunday

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

Ayana MathisUSA Today leads up to Oprah’s interview with Ayana Matthis, the author of her latest Book Club 2.0 pick, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, (RH/Knopf), with one of their own (click through for video).

Oprah’s interview appears on OWN network’s  Super Soul Sunday, this week, February 3, at 11 a.m. ET/PT.

Promo for the show also promises “OPRAH’S BOOK CLUB 2.0 NEWS!” which may mean the announcement of a new title.

A taste of Oprah’s interview below:

Wilkerson Reviews HATTIE

Monday, January 7th, 2013

Twelve Tribes Oprah Sticker   The Warmth of Other Suns

The NYT Book Review features the latest Oprah 2.0 pick on the cover this week (without mentioning the Oprah connection). Since The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, by Ayana Mathis (RH/Knopf) is set during the Great Migration of African Americans to northern cities, the review was assigned to Isabel Wilkerson, the author of the prize-winning history of that period, The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, (Random House, 2010).

Wilkerson calls the novel “raw and intimate” and says “The story it tells works at the rough edges of history, residing not so much within the migration itself as within a brutal and poetic allegory of a family beset by tribulations.”

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie rose to #9 on the Jan. 13  NYT Hardcover Fiction Best Seller list, after 3 weeks, moving up from #10 the previous two weeks.

TWELVE TRIBES on NYT Best Seller List

Monday, December 24th, 2012

Twelve Tribes Oprah StickerThe second Oprah 2.0 pick, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, by Ayana Mathis, arrives on the NYT Hardcover Fiction best seller list this week at #10 (oddly, the annotation does not mention the Oprah connection —  “Fifty-some years in the life of an African-American family, starting with Hattie Shepherd, who leaves Georgia for Philadelphia in 1923.”)

It rose to #41 on the USA Today list from #95 last week.

Mathis received another strong endorsement after the Oprah pick, in the form of a rave from the NYTs difficult-to-please critic, Michiko Kakutani. The Washington Post’s Ron Charles is also impressed, but there are at least two dissenting voices, including the Wall Street Journal and a particularly scathing review in the L.A. Times, which says the book is,

…a callow work by a writer of still unpolished talents. Our great novelists give us fully rounded characters whose lives reflect the limitations, the possibilities and the wonder of the times in which they live. Mathis gives us a one-dimensional portrait of their suffering — and little else.

Who Is Ayana Mathis?

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

Now that Oprah has picked the 39-year-old’s first novel, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie (RH/Knopf; BOT Audio; RH Audio and RH Large Print), as the second title in her Book Club 2.0, many are asking who Ayana Mathis is.

The media is responding. She is interviewed in the New York Times today (her writing mentor is Marilynne Robinson) and, on the Oprah Club site, Mathis writes about overcoming obstacles (as a tour operator in Florence, she had to learn Italian) and on making difficult choices (“When in Doubt, Cook Italian”).

Oprah interviews Mathis on her “Super Soul Sunday” show, February 3 at 11 a.m. ET.

Michiko Joins Oprah’s Club

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Hours after Oprah announced she had picked Ayana Mathis’s The Twelve Tribes of Hattie (RH/Knopf), the NYT posted a rave review from their difficult-to-please reviewer, Michiko Kakutani, who calls the book a “piercing debut.”

Although it shot up Amazon’s sales rankings, jumping from #186,959 to #130, it didn’t break in to the top 100. It’s doing much better on rankings, however, where it is currently at  #17.

All the libraries we checked ordered the book prior to the announcement, based on stellar pre-pub reviews, but we found just one that had ordered multiple copies per branch. Cuyahoga’s Wendy Bartlett reports on how she spotted it:

I snapped up The Twelve Tribes of Hattie as soon as the publisher sent me the ARC, because it deals with America’s great African-American migration. Our customers loved the nonfiction title on that subject, The Warmth of Other Suns, by Isabel Wilkerson (Random House), which came out last year. Baby boomers especially enjoy books about this time period; they’ve heard these stories all their lives from their parents and grandparents, so they want to know more. Every African-American family here in Cleveland has a migration story, so I knew they’d love this book.

A reminder: the pub date for The Twelve Tribes has been moved up from mid-January to today and the original ISBN’s have been changed (see previous post), so libraries need to place new orders. Also, please note the BOT editions —

BOT CD: 9780804127271
BOT LDL: 9780804127288

The Next Oprah Book Club 2.0 Selection

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

The debut novel, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis (RH/Knopf) has been chosen as the next title in Oprah’s Book Club 2.0.

The book was originally scheduled for publication in January, but the date has now been moved up to tomorrow, Dec. 6.

RH Library Marketing alerts librarians that the original ISBN’s have been changed and they will need to place new orders.

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie (Oprah’s Book Club 2.0)
Ayana Mathis
Retail Price:  $24.95
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Knopf – (2012-12-06)
EAN: 9780385350280

Regular Ebook: 9780385350303, $12.99

Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 Digital Edition: 9780385350297, $12.99

BOT CD: 9780804127271
BOT Library Download: 9780804127288

Large Print, Trade Pbk.: 9780804121026, $26.00

Publishers Weekly, Kirkus and Booklist all starred the book. The author was interviewed in PW last month.

WILD Book Club Wraps

Friday, July 20th, 2012

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.

First Oprah Book Club 2.0 Webisode

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

The new Oprah Book Club kicks off this week with Cheryl Strayed’s Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (RH/Knopf). The first Webisode, a brief (VERY brief) interview with Strayed is now up on A new Webisode will appear each week, leading up to Oprah’s July 22 interview with Strayed on OWN’s Super Soul Sunday at 11 a.m. ET.

The club is living up to its 2.0 name. Members can tweet comments via Twitter (#oprahsbookclub), submit questions and get video responses via VYou, and form  virtual book clubs via GroupMe.

Oprah’s Book Club is Back! WILD is First Pick

Friday, June 1st, 2012

This just in from the New York Times “Media Decoder” blog — Oprah is reviving her book club, specifically because she wanted to feature the memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed (RH/Knopf, 3/20). Link to video below:

It’s great news for books, although somewhat lessened by the fact that Winfrey’s cable station, OWN has not enjoyed the strongest rating.

There is still magic in the Oprah touch. The book, already a best seller (#3 on the Indie best seller list; it is on the NYT nonfiction extended list), rose to #19 (from #149) on Amazon’s sales rankings based on the news.

The book’s new jackets will sport the new Oprah sticker.

Oprah Hurt Book Sales?

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

It seems unlikely, but the AP reports that a new study says Oprah’s endorsements suppressed the sales of books overall. Because “the books Oprah chose were longer and more challenging,” people ended up spending time with one book, when they might have been reading two or three less difficult books.