The Zuckerberg Book Club

Andrew AlbaneseThe emphasis this week was on the book in Facebook. Company founder and Harvard drop-out Mark Zuckerberg announced intentions to share his personal reading list with Facebook friends and others. The new book-of-the-month club from the social media genius drew inevitable comparison with a similar endeavor from another self-made billionaire. Whether Mark can measure up to Oprah, though, only time can tell.

“On January 2,  Zuckerberg announced that his first selection was Moses Naim’s The End of Power. Released in March 2013, from Perseus, the book had sold a modest number of copies, just over 5,000 in hardcover and paper—but it quickly shot to #1 position in all of its sub-categories on Amazon,” reports Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer.

For obvious reasons, then, authors and publishers will appreciate any boost that a Zuckerberg “pick” may give them. Nevertheless, Albanese tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally, hopes for an Oprah Book Club Redux may miss the mark.

“I am not sure what publishers should expect from Zuckerberg,” he says. “For one, he is not coordinating with publishers—indeed, Naim had no idea his book was selected—though he said he was stoked that it was! Yeah, I’ll bet he was stoked! But, there’s also this: Zuckerberg ain’t Oprah. Oprah’s talent is that her audience really buys into her ‘live your best life’ mantra, which is what drove her book club success. Zuckerberg doesn’t have that audience. And Facebook is an unwieldy beast.”

Every Friday, CCC’s “Beyond the Book” speaks with the editors and reporters of “Publishers Weekly” for an early look at the news that publishers, editors, authors, agents and librarians will be talking about when they return to work on Monday.

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