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BookNet Canada Analysis Shows Oprah's Picks Become Bestsellers

The Oprah’s Book Club Windfall – What Friday’s Chosen One Can Expect

TORONTO January 25, 2007 – The book Oprah chooses tomorrow as the Oprah’s Book Club pick for 2007 is almost assured a place in the overall bestseller lists for the year. BookNet Canada data shows that an Oprah’s Book Club book can shoot to, and remain on, the top of the bestseller lists for months after the announcement is made.

Oprahs Book Club was launched in September 1996 when Oprah announced the first title, The Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard. In the last decade, more than 50 titles have become Oprah picks, from categories as varied as literary fiction, memoirs, classics and even children’s books. “Oprah’s Book Club is the single biggest demand driver that the media has to offer book publishers in North America,” said Michael Tamblyn, BookNet Canada CEO. “Fiction, non-fiction or ‘almost-non-fiction’ – it doesn’t matter; she influences book purchasing in a way that is unprecedented.”

BookNet Canada’s data indicates that Oprah well deserves her reputation as a kingmaker: the first week that the new edition of Night was released (immediately following Oprah’s Book Club announcement), it was outsold only by Oprah’s 2005 pick, James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces. Night outsold the third bestselling title, The Motive by John Lescroat, by more than 170%.

Night went on to become the second highest selling non-fiction title of 2006 as per BookNet data topped only by A Million Little Pieces. The controversy around the veracity of James Frey’s purported memoir did not hurt sales. In fact, sales for A Million Little Pieces in January 2006 (after the controversy broke out regarding Frey’s truthfulness) were 62% higher than the combined sales of the next four bestselling non-fiction titles.

In every month from January to August 2006, either Night, A Million Little Pieces, or both were among the top five bestselling non-fiction titles. From September until the end of 2006, the books continued to sell at healthy rates with a gentle decline over time.

Given the performance of past picks in 2006, the title named Oprah’s choice this Friday, January 26th, 2007 can expect a big first month and a likely spot on the bestsellers of the year.

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About BookNet Canada
Created and supported by the Canadian book industry, BookNet Canada is the not-for-profit agency dedicated to technology innovation in the Canadian book industry. It is responsible for tracking national book sales, managing industry-wide business-to-business electronic commerce, bibliographic data, and other critical components of technology infrastructure.