Going where Oprah Winfrey has gone twice before, NBC's Today launched a book club this morning, in what is potentially good news for the publishing world — if only the book club succeeds in driving sales. The first pick is Samantha Shannon's much-buzzed-about The Bone Season, which is being published today.
Love it-big supporter of large scale book clubs-get people talking, reading ‘Today’ Is Starting Oprah-like Book Club http://t.co/JCGL1jAenw— Lauren Belle (@lbhartwick) August 20, 2013
An announcement on the Today show's site said that the book club will be
a fresh and interactive digital discussion series focused on great reads from up-and-coming authors and old favorites alike, launches August 20. Book lovers will have a chance to share their thoughts and insights with the TODAY anchors, featured authors, and other fans through regular Google Hangouts.
Shannon will chat about The Bone Season in a Google Hangout on September 16. New books will reportedly be chosen every month or so.
As The New York Times reports, Today previously had a book club that "faded about a decade ago." This time around, both NBC producers and book publishers are hoping that the book club attracts digitally-savvy fans who wants to discuss literature on social media sites (the book club has a hashtag, #TODAYBookClub).
As one publisher told The Times, "One can't overstate the importance of a nationally televised book club." Though it's not clear how often authors will actually appear on the morning show — which trails ABC's Good Morning America in ratings — branding like book stickers emblazoned with the Today logo could entice customers.
Obviously, the Today book club hopes to engender such a community as well, even if it has to compete with Oprah's Book Club 2.0, which started up in the summer of 2012. It, too, is geared towards a more digitally-savvy audience. Reporting on the Today book club, Deadline Hollywood said the development "looks like a win for the publishing industry." NBC surely hopes its a win for its morning lineup, too.