What Oprah has done for books

On this, the final day of Oprah’s long-running network TV show, I have a confession: I have never watched an Oprah show, not even one of her famous book discussions.

But so many other people have watched Oprah’s show that publishers are wondering what their fate will be with the loss of “the Oprah effect,” the astronomical increase in demand for books that Oprah chose. Of the 70 books Oprah has featured over the years, 59 made the top 10 of USA Today’s best seller list, with 22 reaching the No. 1 spot.

Writing in The Christian Science Monitor‘s book blog, Chapter & Verse, Husna Haq sums up the Oprah effect and offers some hope that, in some way, Oprah may continue her interest in books on her new TV network, OWN.

Publishers Make a Plan: A ‘One Stop’ Book Site

Publishers have spent a lot of time and money building their own company Web sites with fresh information on their books and authors. The trouble is, very few book buyers visit them.

In search of an alternative, three major publishers said on Friday that they would create a new venture, called Bookish.com, which is expected to make its debut late this summer. The site intends to provide information for all things literary: suggestions on what books to buy, reviews of books, excerpts from books and news about authors. Visitors will also be able to buy books directly from the site or from other retailers and write recommendations and reviews for other readers.

The New York Times reports on this new site, which will initially be funded by major publishers Simon & Schuster, PenguinGroup USA, and Hachette Book Group.

Bookish.com is scheduled to debut late this summer.