When Mark Zuckerberg first announced that for his new year's resolution he was going to start a Facebook book club, the comparisons to Oprah came swift and strong. Then came the backlash because, of course, no one could ever compare to Oprah. But with the latest news surrounding the book sales around Zuckerberg's first book club selection, we're seeing that maybe that Oprah comparison isn't so far-fetched.
After being chosen as his first title for the new book club, Moisés Naím's 2013 book The End of Power sold 13,000 copies, 10,000 of the e-book edition and 3,000 of the trade paperback. Now, just for a little context: In the week before The End of Power was announced as Zuckerberg's selection, stores that report to Nielsen BookScan showed that the book sold 29 copies. In the week after the announcement, the same reporting feature showed that The End of Power sold 3,089. And, in September, the book was listed as Amazon's 45,140th best-selling book. But in January, it jumped into the top 10. It's currently Amazon's No. 1 book in Political History, beating Machiavelli's The Prince.
The End of Power has been so in demand that Perseus Books Group has printed and shipped more than 30,000 additional copies to supply retailers that have sold out. But bigger box stores and wholesalers have jumped in on the action too, as Perseus CEO David Steinberger says that he has received orders from Costco and Hudson's and from booksellers in Latin America, New Zealand, and the Far East.
Though with awards season upon us, The End of Power seems to have dipped out of the top 10, at least according to the New York Times Best-Seller list. In the nonfiction print and e-book category, Zuckerberg's selection is getting beaten by books with movie adaptations up for major awards, like Cheryl Strayed's Wild, Chris Kyle's American Sniper, Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time, and Andrew Hodges' Alan Turing: An Enigma.
Still, Zuckerberg's quick influence on the literary community is impressive, though it can't yet hold a candle to the queen of daytime. Steinberger himself helped to publish Wally Lamb's I Know This Much Is True when it was an Oprah Book Club selection, and he has this to say about Zuckerberg's comparison to that momentous occasion:
It was like the difference between the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and a flash mob.
We should all be expecting his next book choice soon — which we have recommendations for, by the way, Mark — to see if it can fill Oprah's massive shoes.