Oprah call gets presses rolling

October 22, 1997|By New York Daily News

Talk-show empress Oprah Winfrey has moved the book market before -- but now the book market is moving for her.

Publishing house HarperCollins was all set to release author Stephen M. Pollan's financial advice book "Die Broke" in January. Then Winfrey called.

Winfrey, whose "book club" has become a phenomenal force in the publishing business, making best-sellers of eight books so far -- said she wanted to feature Pollan and showcase his book. The catch was, she wanted to do it all by yesterday.

"We had to scramble," said Lisa Berkowitz, marketing director of HarperBusiness, which was planning a print run of 75,000. And they did -- books began shipping Monday and should hit bookstore shelves by the end of the week.

"If you have an opportunity to have an author showcased on 'Oprah,' you move heaven and earth to try and get the books into the stores," Berkowitz said.

And with good reason.

In the past year alone, Winfrey was responsible for selling about 12 million books, and causing cash registers to ring up $130 million in sales, according to Publishing Trends, an industry newsletter.

If Oprah's attention makes Pollan's fortune, he won't save it for a rainy day. Pollan, who co-authored "Die Broke" with free-lance writer Mark Levine, is a market contrarian who urges everyone to stop fretting about saving for retirement -- because you're not going to be able to retire anyway.

Pub Date: 10/22/97

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