I found it interesting how a book can go from unknown to bestseller just because a celebrity talks about the book. Take Oprah book club selections, the paper “From Obscurity to Bestseller: Examining the Impact of Oprah’s Book Club Selections” talks about how “Oprah endorsement was enough to bring a book up into the top 150 bestsellers in America, and almost certainly guaranteed a sturdy spike in the rankings, in the beginning, followed by a prolonged period of strong sales for months to come” (Butler et. al., 32). While Oprah has not picked as many books as she use to when she had her talk show her influence is on the books she picks. It kind of funny that we are talking about this subject right now since this week we got the newest pick “An American Marriage” by Tayari Jones in the new books to process today. In the past, I have had people get upset with me when we didn’t have one of her picks from several years ago. They were like but it was an Oprah pick what do you mean you don’t have a copy. Mind you the one they were looking for was from 7 years before and all of the copies had been lost, stolen, or damaged.
I remember when the I saw that Emma Watson was going around Paris putting out copies of “Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood and thinking I wish I was there. This book had become popular not because she started putting out copies but because of the TV show. I do think some celebrities are just trying to promote reading and literacy but at the same time I feel some are just doing it for self-promotion but if celebrity book clubs get people reading I say the more the merrier.
Butler, Richard, et. al. “From Obscurity to Bestseller: Examining the Impact of Oprah’s Book Club Selection.” Publishing Research Quarterly, Winter, 2005, pp. 23-34.