Oprah Windfall’s book club is back – now she is focusing on classics to turn into instant bestsellers:
Oprah Winfrey (news) was sitting under an oak tree in California last summer, reading John Steinbeck’s “East of Eden” and loving it, when she realized that just telling a few friends about it wouldn’t do.
“I was literally halfway through `East of Eden’ and thought, `Gee, I wish I had a book club again,'” Winfrey told The Associated Press Wednesday in a telephone interview from Chicago, shortly after announcing on her TV talk show that Steinbeck’s novel was her first pick after a 14-month hiatus.
Winfrey had suspended her club in April 2002 because she didn’t have enough time to keep up monthly selections. She revealed in February that she would be starting her picks again and focusing on older authors.
The Winfrey touch is apparently undiminished. By late Wednesday afternoon, “East of Eden” had jumped to No. 2 on Amazon.com, trailing only the new Harry Potter book. Steinbeck’s publisher, Penguin Group USA, has ordered a new printing of 600,000 for a book that usually sells 40,000-50,000 copies a year.
….The revived book club means more good news for the publishing industry, which is already anticipating Saturday’s debut of “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.”
In a segment filmed Monday and aired on Wednesday’s show, Winfrey personally delivered boxes of “East of Eden” to Anderson’s Bookshop in the Chicago suburb of Naperville. By midmorning Wednesday, 20 copies from Winfrey had been purchased, along with 50 more the store had ordered, said Doris Blechman, the assistant manager. [AP]
Oprah’s power is weird and kind of scary, but she seems to wield it with honorably and with the best intentions. I find it bizarre that millions of American women want to be told what to do by this person, whom I find utterly uninteresting. But what do I know?