Archive for the ‘Oprah Book Club’ Category

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.

Oprah and Franzen

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Oprah and Jonathan Franzen went from estranged to potential BFF’s on her show yesterday (New York magazine’s “Vulture” blog describes the sit down, along with video clips).

The greatest excitement, however, came when Oprah gave everyone in the audience a Kindle (hey, guys, it’s not a car!) Ironically, that moment came right after Oprah talked about the beauty of the “special, deluxe” Penguin edition of the next Book Club pick, Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations, and declared, “You can pass it on to your grandchildren, because books DO matter. We’re still going to be holding books in our hands for years to come.”

The actual book discussion was reserved for the after show interview, featuring an all-male book club (Oprah claimed she’d never heard of such a thing, but Franzen said they aren’t that rare).

Oprah’s Book Club Pick

Monday, December 6th, 2010

It’a not just one classic, but two this time, both by Charles Dickens; A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations, bound into one 800 page special edition for the club.

The AP’s book publishing reporter, Hillel Italie, broke the news, saying that he purchased a copy of the volume with the logo on the cover.

The official announcement will be made on the show today.

Oprah’s Next Book Club Pick

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Oprah announces her next pick on Monday, the same day that Jonathan Franzen appears on the show to discuss the current one, Freedom.

According to industry news site, Publishers Lunch, “It’s a big fat paperback from Penguin, with an unknown page count but a listed shipping weight of 1.9 pounds. The print book has a list price of $20, but the ebook currently has an agency price of only $7.99.”

Could it be the new edition of Madame Bovary, translated by Lydia Davis?

No, its list price is $27.95 and the weight is 1.4 pounds.

Any ideas?

Looks Like It Really Is FREEDOM

Friday, September 17th, 2010

According to tweets from people who watched the live Oprah Show in Chicago, the next Book Club pick is the heavily-rumored Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom. According to one tweet, Oprah said that she checked it out with Franzen first (good move).

UPDATE: A tweet from Franzen’s publisher, FSG (FSG_Books), confirms the selection. It is also posted on the Oprah Web site. But the really big news, according to PW Daily is that Oprah said this is not her final book club pick. She plans to pick books throughout the final season of her show AND it will “go with me to the Oprah Network.”

Franzen? Really, Oprah?

Friday, September 17th, 2010

In just a few hours, we’ll learn which title will get the magic book club sticker, when Oprah’s live show debuts on Chicago’s WLS at 10 am. EDT (it runs on other stations at 4 p.m. local times). Many news outlets are already claiming that it is the wild card, Freedom by Jonathan Franzen, based on a story, released mid-afternoon yesterday, by the AP, quoting three anonymous booksellers who have seen early copies of the stickered book.

The Melville House Publishing blog posted a story way back on Monday, based on “reliable sources” and followed with post featuring the cover with an Oprah sticker. The L.A. Times is suspicious that the rather blurry photo may be a result of photoshopping. Below is the cover, next to the Melville House image. We leave it to you to judge — is this a poor photo shop job, a bad scan, or just a terrible photo?

Oprah’s Book Club Back in Session

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Consider it her parting gift to the book business; in the final season of her show, Oprah is bringing back the Book Club. Macmillan has alerted accounts that the announcement will be made on Sept. 17th, which is also the book’s on sale date (that’s the date for the edition with the official sticker; the book might have already been published, according to the bookseller Newtonville Books Community blog).

And, guess what literary darling is published by one of Macmillan’s companies? Freedom by Jonathan Franzen is published by FSG. Would Oprah be willing to revisit the author who dissed her in the past, causing her to revoke his invitation to appear on the show? It might make for an interesting segment on forgiveness.

The price fits; Oprah #64 is $28 and so is the Franzen. However, the fake ISBN indicates Oprah’s selection is a St. Martin’s Press title. The price is puzzling, though; it doesn’t fit any titles in St. Martin’s catalog. My guess is that they would be more likely to fudge the price than the ISBN. So, ignoring the price question, here are a couple of titles that might be possibilities:

Some Sing, Some Cry: A Novel
Ntozake Shange, Ifa Bayeza
Retail Price: $26.99
Hardcover: 576 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press – (2010-09-14)
ISBN / EAN: 031219899X / 9780312198992

Ntozake Shange wrote the award-winning 1975 play,  for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf, which Tyler Perry just finished directing as a film. Originally announced for Martin Luther King Day weekend release, it was just moved to November and is getting Oscar buzz. Perry and Oprah are friends and were co-executive producers of the movie Precious.


A Secret Kept
Tatiana de Rosnay
Retail Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press – (2010-09-14)
ISBN / EAN: 0312593317 / 9780312593315

The follow up to de Rosnay’s best-selling Sarah’s Key is, according to Kirkus, about “the crushing cost of keeping secrets,” a recurring theme on Oprah’s show.

Oprah Pick Leaked

Friday, September 18th, 2009

The Washington Post reported that Ingram unintentionally revealed the Oprah Pick on Thursday and it’s what many Twitter speculators guessed it was. It’s also the one we’ve been rooting for — Uwem Akpan’s Say You’re One of Them.

The pick will be officially announced on Oprah’s show Friday (airing at 9 a.m. Central Time in Chicago; 4 p.m. in other markets).

We had high hopes for the book when it came out last year; it deserves the platform that Oprah will give it. It landed on several best of 2008 lists — NY Times, Washington Post, Publishers Weekly and the Amazon Editors’ list.

If you haven’t read the book (and good luck getting your hands on a library copy after the announcement!), two of the stories in the collection appeared in the New Yorker and are available on their site:

The Post‘s story does not explain how the pick was leaked.

Say You’re One of Them
Uwem Akpan
Retail Price: $14.99
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Back Bay Books – (2009-07-15)
ISBN / EAN: 0316113956 / 9780316113953

Libraries used the following blind bibliographic information to order the book:

  • Trade Paperback
  • 978-0-316-08637-0
  • $14.99

The downloadable eBook and audio are available from OverDrive.

Let the Guessing Begin!

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

Now that Oprah has announced that she will announce her next book club pick on Friday, Sept. 18th, speculation about what the pick will be is running rampant.

On Twitter, there are dozens and dozens of requests for people to sign a petition to Oprah to choose Kathy Griffin’s forthcoming memoir.  It’s uncannily timed to come out one week before the pick is announced. But, really, fat chance it’s the pick; just the title, Official Book Club Selection, would put Oprah off.

Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin
Kathy Griffin
Retail Price: $25.00
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books – (2009-09-08)
ISBN / EAN: 0345518519 / 9780345518514

The most credible speculation is around the blind ordering information that the indy bookstore, Newtonville Books in Newton MA, put on their site:

OPRAH’s 63rd Book Club Selection is a Little, Brown and Company book!
Orders due: Tuesday, 8/25
Announced 1st print: 500K
Trade Paperback
$14.99/$16.99 Can.
Carton qty: 20

Putting together the information on publisher, price and format, Twitter speculators have come up with:

Say You’re One of Them
Uwem Akpan
Retail Price: $14.99
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Back Bay Books – (2009-07-15)
ISBN / EAN: 0316113956 / 9780316113953

Akpan, a Nigerian Jesuit priest, who lives in Zimbabwe, studied writing at the University of Michigan so he could tell the stories of Africa’s troubled children. The fiction-based-on-truth stories explore such subjects as child prostitution in Gabon. The book was on many 2008 best lists. Entertainment Weekly‘s reviewer gave it the utmost praise, saying the stories are “so ravishing and sad that I regret ever wasting superlatives on fiction that was merely very good.”

Besides having the correct publisher, price and format, the book is about one of Oprah’s hot-button issues.

What about Oprah’s comment that she’s “never made a selection like ‘this'”?The Twitter speculators point out that it would be her first selection of a book of short stories, which doesn’t seem THAT big of a departure.

Another intriguing guess comes from YA author Mitali Perkins, who suggests The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie. It’s also a Little, Brown book, but from the Young Readers division. Unfortuately, it doesn’t fit the price criterion:

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Sherman Alexie
Retail Price: $8.99
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers – (2009-04-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0316013692 / 9780316013697

We’re going for the Akpan title.

Oprah Picks ‘The Story of Edgar Sawtelle’

Friday, September 19th, 2008

And, Jeffrey Gegner, Popular Materials Specialist at Hennepin County P.L. guessed it over a month ago.

The AP confirmed the pick this morning, before the Oprah show aired in Chicago. They uncovered the news when they found a copy of Edgar in a bookstore with the Oprah sticker on the cover.


The Story of Edgar Sawtelle David Wroblewski

  • Hardcover: $25.95
  • Publisher: Ecco (June 10, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0061374229
  • ISBN-13: 9780061374227
  • Audio CD: Unabridged, 18 CDs, 21.5 hrs., $39.95 
  • Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC 
  • Narrator: Richard Poe
  • ISBN-10: 1436160308
  • ISBN-13: 978-14361603
  • Large Print Paperback: $25.95
  • Publisher: HarperLuxe; (August 19, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0061691623
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061691621

Next Oprah Book Club Pick

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

The drumbeats are increasing for Oprah’s next pick, to be announced a week from Friday — the AP has a story today.

We began speculating several weeks ago, when Jeffrey Gegner, Popular Materials Specialist at Hennepin County spotted a blind listing on both B&T and Ingram for “Oprah Book Club #62,” a HarperCollins title with a price of $25.95 in hardcover, also available in large type. No paperback version was listed, indicating it’s a new title.

Jeffrey noted that The Story of Edgar Sawtelle fits all the clues — published by Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins, priced at $25.95 and not yet available in paperback.

My guess was Brida by Paul Coelho. I thought a novel about a spiritual quest would appeal to Oprah. It’s also from HarperCollins, in hardcover and large type, but I overlooked the fact that it’s priced at a dollar less than “Oprah Book Club #62.”

Two other excellent guesses from our readers, The Lace Reader and The Art of Racing in the Rain, are also a dollar cheaper than #62.

The MediaBistro book publishing blog, GalleyCat got into the game this week. Checking on B&N, GC says it appears the title will be available in trade paper next week. That makes sense, since Oprah has stuck to titles available in paperback for the Club.

GalleyCat’s original prediction was Edward P. Jones’s short story collection, All Aunt Hagar’s Children, Right hardcover price, right publisher, but it turns out that it’s already available in trade paper. Another thought is the forthcoming title by an early and very popular Oprah Book Club author, Wally Lamb. The Hour I First Believed is not due until until November and is four dollars more than #62, but GC notes, a publisher would surely be willing to change both if they could for an Oprah pick (but, damn, that kind of thinking renders all clues useless!)

But a wise GalleyCat reader suggests it’s Edgar Sawtelle.

Jeffrey, I have the feeling you nailed this one.

Oprah Does it Again (and Again)

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

Oprah in reruns still has impact. After yesterday’s rerun of the December show with Elizabeth Gilbert, the trade paperback of Eat, Pray, Love went from #31 to #1.

Not only that, the audio went from #7,959 to #265 and the original hardcover from #17,119 to #152 (later — these numbers are from Amazon, as our astute commenter points out. Thanks for the clarification). 

Mark your calendars for Friday, Sept. 19; when Oprah announces the next title in her Book Club. We’ve place our bets; how about you?

Oprah’s Dog Days?

Monday, August 18th, 2008

Sharp-eyed Jeffrey Gegner, Popular Materials Specialist at Hennepin County noticed a blind listing on both B&T and Ingram, for a new Oprah Book Club Selection (“Oprah Book Club #62”), scheduled for 9/15. As Jeffrey points out, only a hardcover and a large print edition are listed:


  • Harpercollins 
  • 9780061768064 
  • $25.95

Large Type

  • HarperLuxe
  • 9780061768088 
  • $25.95

This suggests a recent title, not yet available in paperback (unusual; after her first pick, Oprah’s stuck to titles available in trade paperback). Jeffrey wonders if the pick might be The Story of Edgar Sawtelle (published by Ecco, a division of HarperCollins). That seems like a strong possibility, given Oprah’s love of dogs and the recent death of her own beloved cocker spaniel.

It would be refreshing if Oprah returned to fiction for the Book Club after her detour into spiritual self help, a category strong on HarperCollins lists. Perhaps a spiritual quest novel, like Paulo Coelho’s Brida, which is also available only in hardcover and large type?

That’s where I place my bet. Are we on, Jeffrey?

Oprah Surprise

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008


  • Paperback: $14.00
  • Publisher: Penguin (January 30, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0452289963
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452289963

It seems like an such odd choice that I’m not sure I’ve got it right. But, right there on Oprah’s Book Club site, with the Oprah Book Club logo printed on the jacket is A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. It’s also up on the Amazon site as the new selection, so I guess this is the one.

It’s certainly a book that fits Oprah’s interests, but, unlike other Oprah Book Club picks, this is not a book to read as literature. It’s no One Hundred Years of Solitude or Anna Karenina. It’s also no Just in Case.

Right now, the book’s sales rank is #77,647 on Amazon. It will be interesting to see where it is after the show airs.

Oprah’s site also announces a 10-week webinar on the book that will run on Wednesday nights for ten weeks, beginning March 3rd. To be part of it, you have to reserve a seat.