Magazine article Library Administrator's Digest

Oprah as Readers' Advisor

Magazine article Library Administrator's Digest

Oprah as Readers' Advisor

Article excerpt

The October 10 issue of Business Week has an article entitled "Why Oprah Opens Readers' Wallets," which is an eye-opener and a dose of reality, maybe, for public libraries.

Some quotes from the article:

"On Sept. 22, Winfrey announced that the next pick for her television book club would be James Frey's A Million Little Pieces, a memoir of alcohol, drug addiction and detoxification. Within four days, club aficionados bought 85,000 copies, reckons publisher Anchor Books.

"Publishers estimate that her power to sell a book is anywhere from 20 to 100 times that of any other media personality.

"It all boils down to the difficulty many people have in discovering a new read. Sure, many readers find searching at online-bookseller sites, trolling the aisles at superstores, or getting recommendations from book-loving clerks at the waning number of independent stores to be wonderful. Yet Oprah's huge following proves that these approaches simply don't work for legions of others.

"Adding to the difficulty is the decline in the number of store personnel able to make worthwhile recommendations. Moreover, it's no secret that the prominently displayed books - piled near the front door or turned faceout on a shelf- often score their exposure as a result of payments from publishers, not because of store managers' enthusiasm. Even if bookstore patrons aren't aware of this merchandising stratagem, they may sense the absence of the personal touch."

Nowhere in the article are librarians as readers' advisors mentioned. …

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