Mark Zuckerberg Starts A Book Club, Becomes This Generation’s Oprah

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is this generation’s version of Oprah. His crowd-sourced New Year’s resolutions post on Facebook prompted Zuck to start a book club this year. The club is so influential that the paperback version of the first book Zuck chose to read for the group,”The End of Power” has now sold out on Amazon.

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The book, an exploration of  how power is distributed between leaders and individuals, has been a popular read. It was a Financial Times Best Book of the Year and Arianna Huffington recommends it on the Amazon site. But it was still available to buy on the “Everything Store” before Zuckerberg’s pick.

It doesn’t look like you can get it directly from B&N online, either. You can order it on the Barnes and Noble Marketplace if it’s not in your local bookstore. People can still get the hardcover version from various Amazon sellers or order it on Kindle.

Zuck thanked the over 50,000 members of the Facebook community who contributed suggestions for his personal goals this year and wrote that reading books was one of the more popular suggestions in a post on his page: “My challenge for 2015 is to read a new book every other week — with an emphasis on learning about different cultures, beliefs, histories and technologies.”

Zuck created a group page, “A Year of Books,” for the reading club soon after. Nearly 100,000 Facebook fans have liked the book club page that just went up two days ago.

Oprah opened up the digitally interactive version of her book club, Oprah’s Book Club 2.0, a couple years back. There’s an official Twitter profile for the club (just over 138,000 followers), but not an official book club page on Facebook. What Oprah does have is a network empire on the social network, with over 10 million fans on her own page, over 660,000 fans on O, The Oprah Magazine page and nearly 3 million fans on OWN, the Oprah Network page. But this is Oprah.

Zuckerberg has over 23 million followers (over 30 million if you count those following him via lists) on his own Facebook page. That’s more than twice the Oprah fan base, but then he did start the site.

Oprah seems to be a fairy godmother to book publishers. The phenomenon, also known as the “Oprah Effect,” can translate into millions in sales for lesser known picks by the former daytime talk show queen. According to Nielsen, one such book, “Say You’re One of Them,” by Uwem Akpan jumped units sold to 853% when the Oprah seal of approval was added.

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Zuck looks like a good contender for the king maker title in the world of books these days. Oprah’s books are expected to sell well and it’s likely publishers stock up in response. There’s still plenty in stock on Amazon and Barnes&Noble for her latest pick, “The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd. Publishers may have to take a look at the Facebook founder’s next picks and print a few more of those in the future, too.

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