She’s back – Oprah Winfrey announced yesterday that after a two-year hiatus, she resuming her popular book club on her challenged cable channel, OWN. The new version will be known as Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 (OBC2.0). Book publishers are ecstatic at the return of their biggest promoter.
Her first selection is Cheryl Strayed’s book, Wild, which was published by Knopf in April. Wild details Strayed’s real-life 11,000 mile solo hike along the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California, Oregon, all the way to Washington. The hike became a transformative journey for a young woman battling her demons.
Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 kicks off in full swing Monday, June 4, when bookstores and eBook stores will make Wild: Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 Digital Edition available to readers. On June 6, the July 2012 issue of O, the Oprah Magazine will feature an interview with Strayed.
Physical copies of the book will carry the well-known Oprah Book Club seal. As a nod to changing times, Winfrey will be including digital and social media elements in the 2.0 book club. Readers who download eBook versions should purchase those labeled Wild: Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 Digital Edition. Readers who wish to access the information (Oprah’s highlighting and margin notes) and who don’t have eReaders will be able to do so online at Oprah’s website in the Book Club section.
The OBC2.0 will take advantage of a plethora of social media outlets. To create a sense of community, there will be weekly webisode’s featuring Winfrey and Strayed, allowing readers to follow the books progression during June and July. Readers will be able to post questions on Oprah.com, Facebook and Twitter (#oprahsbookclub). Answers to selected questions will be answered via video response on a weekly basis. Using Storify, a website that allows creation of a big picture overview, Oprah.com will collect tweets, instagram photos and Facebook postings to provide an overview of participants Wild experience. OBC2.0 will also use the mobile messaging app, GroupMe to allow readers to create smaller book clubs for discussions. The OBC2.0 Wild showcase will culminate on July 22 at 11 a.m. on OWN with an interview by Winfrey of Strayed. The interview will also be simulcast streaming live on Oprah.com and on OWN’s Facebook page.
“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 Cheryl Strayed. “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.”
Winfrey’s decision to activate OBC2.0 comes as a relief to publishers. Oprah’s selections have invariably experienced a significant sales bump, often selling more than a million copies per selected title.