Winfrey’s digitally focused ‘Oprah’s Book Club 2.0’ to open with ‘Wild’ memoir

By Hillel Italie, AP

NEW YORK–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 cable TV network and her O magazine, begins Monday with the popular memoir “Wild,” Cheryl Strayed’s story of her 1,100-mile (1,770-kilometer) hike along the Pacific Crest Trail in California and Washington state. Besides 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:

“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 viewership is far smaller than years ago. Starting in the mid-1990s, Winfrey made hits out of dozens of books through her previous club, featured on her syndicated talk show. But sales had fallen by the time her show ended, in 2011. One of her last picks, a combined volume 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 Winfrey’s peak, when her choices topped best-seller charts within hours of her revealing them. As of Friday night, “Wild,” had received a mild bump on’s list, from No. 175 before Winfrey’s pick to No. 97. “Wild” ranked No. 244 late Friday on the Kindle e-book charts.