Oprah's Book Club is being reimagined once again, this time through a partnership with Apple. The agreement will move much of the club's activity to Apple's platforms, pushing titles selected for it to be purchased through Apple Books and establishing a program in its new streaming service (Apple TV+) in which Winfrey will interview authors whose works are selected.
The launch title of the club is Ta-Nehisi Coates's debut novel The Water Dancer (One World), which goes on sale tomorrow.
The power of Winfrey's book club has notably declined since Winfrey's namesake talk show went off the air in 2011. When the show was still on TV, the club was one of the most powerful forms of promotion for a title. It had the power to turn almost any title into an instant bestseller. Although the book club was never killed--it has remained active online, and is promoted in other platforms of Winfrey's media empire (such as her magazine)--it has not been the publishing kingmaker it once was.
And, although other celebrity book clubs have sprouted in the wake of Winfrey's, none have shown to be as powerful a force. (Arguably Reese's Book club, founded by Reese Witherspoon, is the presumed heir to Winfrey's original; nonetheless, it has not consistently sold books the way Oprah's Book Club did.)
Elaborating on the partnership, a press release about the agreement said a new episode in the Apple TV+ series will appear every two months. The premiere episode with Coates is set for November 1. Additionally, Apple said it intends to donate certain proceeds from the sales of titles generated by the book club (and sold via Apple Books) to the American Library Association.