Oprah Winfrey is back in the book club business, updated for the digital age.
“Oprah’s Book Club 2.0,” a joint project of Winfrey’s OWN network and her O magazine, begins Monday with Cheryl Strayed’s popular memoir “Wild.” Along with the traditional paper version, featuring the circular Oprah book club logo, special e-editions will be made available that include Winfrey’s comments and a reader’s guide.
An interview with Strayed will air July 22 on OWN’s “Super Soul Sunday” and on Oprah Radio. Readers will be able to share opinions through Facebook and Twitter and Winfrey’s website, www.oprah.com.
“This is way different from the old book club,” Winfrey said in an online video announcement, taped in her Chicago office and posted Friday on her website. “This time it’s an interactive, online club for our digital world.”
The new club will test whether Winfrey still has clout with the reading public, especially when her network audience is far smaller than what she enjoyed before. Starting in the mid-1990s, Winfrey made hits out of countless books through her previous club, featured on her syndicated talk show.
But sales had fallen off by the time her show ended, in 2011. One of her last picks, a combined edition of Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities” and “Great Expectations,” was in part a victim of the e-book market as many readers simply downloaded free, public-domain versions of the novels.
The initial response to Friday’s announcement was slow compared to the former club, when the book would often top best-seller charts within hours of Winfrey revealing the title. As of Friday evening, “Wild,” ranked No. 173 on Amazon.com’s best-seller list and No. 265 on the Kindle e-book charts.
“Wild” was published in March by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Inc.