Oprah's New Book Club Pick Has a Dickensian Feel
As the Associated Press reported yesterday and now confirmed elswhere, Winfrey has selected Dickens's classic novels A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations, which will be reissued together as a single, 800-page volume with the Oprah's Book Club sticker from Penguin Classics (PSO). The paperback edition has a list price of $20, while Penguin's e-book edition will sell for $7.99.
Of course, that's the "official" edition, and the Penguin Classics version will be the only one bearing the Oprah's Book Club logo (pictured). But because Dickens's novels have long been in the public domain, readers can also purchase the Barnes & Noble (BKS) Classics paperback editions of either Great Expectations or A Tale of Two Cities for less. Or they can download either book as a free Kindle (AMZN) edition, a free e-book from Project Gutenberg or a $1.99 copy that can be read on B&N's Nook e-reader.
Beyond which publishers and retailers will benefit, Oprah's newest selection continues a peculiar skewing toward male-only picks that has persisted since 2003. Of the 22 books she has chosen for the Book Club, 20 are by men -- and a perfect 16 for 16 since January 2005. At this point, it seems ever likelier Oprah won't break this record until her show goes off the air in September and she migrates to her own cable network -- where the Book Club audience as a whole may well shrink.