Oprah, Reese and now…Apple? The iPhone maker has just launched its own book club directly in its Apple Books app for readers in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Australia, where it will curate both fiction and non-fiction titles for readers. But unlike Apple’s other editorial efforts in apps like Apple Podcasts or the App Store, the club’s selections aren’t curated by a nameless team of editors. Instead, Apple’s book club picks are being curated by Canadian media personality and Apple Music Hits host, George “Strombo” Stroumboulopoulos.
In fact, the book club itself is being called “Strombo’s Lit.”
Although Stroumboulopoulos is on the Apple Music team, the book club won’t focus on music-related titles. Instead, the theme of Strombo’s Lit is fairly broad: It will offer a lens through which to better view the world, Apple says. And the target demographic for the club will be anyone interested in learning the stories from some of the world’s best authors.
A broadcast and radio veteran, Stroumboulopoulos joined Apple in August 2020, as the pandemic was well underway. He now hosts a show called “Strombo” on the Apple Music Hits live radio station, which attempts to connect the artist and listener. On the most recent episode, which aired on Tuesday, he announced the launch of Strombo’s Lit.
The book club reportedly came about because Stroumboulopoulos, a lifelong lover of books, began to read a lot during COVID lockdowns and would talk about favorite books with his friends. The club, of course, will broaden access to his personal selections to a much wider group of readers. Those interested in the new book club can find it in the Apple Books app on their iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Apple Watch, or they can choose to follow George across his own social channels via the username @strombo. In addition to the book club picks themselves, the club will feature author interviews and other content, some of which will be shared on social media, as well.
The first “Strombo’s Lit” pick is the sci-fi thriller “Termination Shock” by Neal Stephenson, the best-selling author of other titles like “Seveneves,” “Anathem” and “Reamde,” which are also available on Apple Books.
Apple clarifies that the new book club isn’t meant to replace the Apple Books curation that’s already underway. Apple Books editors will continue to curate titles into various collections that are found in the “Book Store” tab of the Apple Books app. The club simply offers a new way to discover titles via Strombo’s own personal selections.
The decision to launch a book club like this is a bit of an odd one on Apple’s part. Often, book clubs succeed based on the cult of personality that the curator brings with them — whether that’s someone like Oprah Winfrey or Jenna Bush Hager. Strombo may have a bit of an online following — his Twitter tops 860,000 followers, for instance; but he’s not likely a name everyone knows. Still, the idea of a book club from a big tech company isn’t new. Netflix just announced its own book club in October, which aims to connect readers with books that are turned into series and films.