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What Oprah has done for books

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(Read caption) James Frey returned to Oprah's show to apologize for inaccuracies in his memoir "A Million Little Pieces." Since his appearance there, his latest book, “The Final Testament of the Holy Bible,” has risen from 10,286 on Amazon's sales ranking to 253.

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She was like a fairy godmother to the book world: With a gushing endorsement and an "O" book seal publishers clamored for, Oprah Winfrey reinvigorated the book club, rocketed little-known authors to stardom, fetched a windfall for the publishing industry as a whole, and encouraged a nation to read.

It was called the "Oprah Effect" for good reason – everything she touched became publishing gold.

Now that she’s leaving – The Oprah Winfrey Show ends its 25-year run on Wednesday – what of her determined book boostering?

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Publishers are eager to find out. Oprah’s effect on book reading and sales is almost supernatural.

Oprah’s Book Club began Sept. 17, 1996, with Jacquelyn Mitchard’s “The Deep End of the Ocean,” about the kidnapping of a child.

• Since then, she’s selected 70 books for Oprah’s Book Club.

• Fifty-nine of her books made The top 10 on USA Today’s bestseller list

• Twenty-two of her books were No. 1 on USA Today’s bestseller list

Toni Morrison, whose books were chosen four times for Oprah’s Book Club (“Song of Solomon,” “Paradise,” “The Bluest Eye,” and “Sula” were all picked), got a bigger sales boost from Oprah than from winning the Nobel Prize for Literature.


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