Despite serious challenges on the home front of her network, OWN, Oprah Winfrey on Monday launched Oprah’s Book Club 2.0, an interactive, multi-platform reading club for her community of fans on Oprah.com, readers of O Magazine and OWN viewers.
The best-selling memoir Wild, by Cheryl Strayed (Knopf), is her first selection with special digital editions of the autobiography — plus exclusive content including a reader’s guide and Oprah’s notes on her favorite passages — available for Kindle, Nook and Apple's iBookstore.
To say that Oprah’s Book Club has been successful for Oprah, for her fans, and for the book industry is an understatement, so relaunching the franchise marks a pivotal return to one of the core pillars of her brand and connection with her community.
“Oprah's book club, since its inception in 1996, has done more to put books — good books — into the hands of adult readers than any marketing or educational campaign could even aspire to,” notes Powell.com. “Perhaps the success of Oprah's book club can be attributed to her uncanny knack for choosing the right books: books that deal intelligently and compassionately with the complex life situations her audience deals with on a daily basis — and that provide a good story to boot.”
“It’s great to have Oprah back as a champion of books. Her enthusiasm for an author’s work has always been a catalyst for readers as well as a prompt for conversation,” said Paul Bogaards, EVP, Knopf, the publishers of Wild.
"I admire Oprah Winfrey tremendously, and could not be more honored and thrilled that Wild is the first selection for Oprah’s Book Club 2.0,” said Strayed, whose memoir recounts her 1,100-mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail in California and Washington. “When she called me out of the blue and said, ‘This is Oprah,’ I was astonished. It was not a call I was expecting, and I will always remember her kind words about Wild.” It’s a
The social and digital tentacles of Oprah's Book Club will make version 2.0 spring to life way beyond what Winfrey's TV show, magazine and website could do in the past. “This is a book club for the way people live and read today,” said Sheri Salata, president of OWN, of the cross-platform threading of the Oprah's Book Club conversations. “In addition to the traditional way, we also access books on smart phones, e-readers and tablets and we talk to our friends about them through social media.”
Conversations amongst book fans will be live on the Book Club hub at Oprah.com/bookclub and via mobile and social media. A series of webisodes featuring conversations between Oprah and Strayed will be uploaded weekly during June and July, and readers will have the opportunity to interact including responding to weekly questions on Oprah.com with text or photo using Facebook and Twitter (using the hashtag #oprahsbookclub).
Oprah.com will also highlight reader tweets via Storify, and Instagram photos and Facebook posts will be “curated into a social wrap up,” with a map display that locates other Book Club participants worldwide. Using the mobile messaging application GroupMe’s app will let readers create smaller book clubs of choice.
The final ‘chapter’ of the Wild journey is a simulcast of Oprah’s interview with Strayed that will air Sunday, July 22 at 11 a.m. ET/PT on OWN’s “Super Soul Sunday,” streaming live on Oprah.com, OWN’s Facebook page and airing on “Oprah’s Soul Series” on Oprah Radio (Sirius 204, XM 111).
It's been a "wild" journey for Winfrey, too, since she stepped away from the daytime talkshow that made her name and fortune to launch a 24-hour cable channel in OWN. But realizing she can't do it just on her OWN, the hope is that the relaunch of Oprah's Book Club — along with the recent Huffington Post partnership — will return Winfrey to what she does best: prompt conversation, promote thought leaders and thought-provoking works, inspire, and curate the zeitgeist with even more tools and points of connection on social and digital.