Will Oprah's long goodbye doom her career as literary tastemaker?


When America's wealthiest and most influential media star calls it quits on her talk show, it's great fodder for several news cycles. But two years will pass between Oprah Winfrey's announcement last Thursday and the September 2011 air-date of her final syndicated show. And that gives the publishing industry plenty of time to fret about life after its most important tastemaker leaves daytime broadcast TV.

"There's no question that when it comes to books, she has been the premier influencer of our era," says a publicist at Simon & Schuster, which benefited greatly when Winfrey featured Rhonda Byrne's self-help smash The Secret on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2007. Even Jonathan Franzen, who famously rejected Oprah's selection of his 2001 novel The Corrections, told The Daily Beast he was "sad" about the news: "Oprah's show is the last place on the networks where serious books still sometimes get a hearing, so it's sad to learn of her impending retreat to cable."