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Oprah's Book Club: Did it have a positive impact?

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Oprah Winfrey introduces book club selection A New Earth during an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show in Jan. 2008. (George Burns/AP Photo/Harpo Productions)

By CBC News

A title by self-help author Eckhart Tolle has topped a list of the biggest selling books championed by departing TV diva Oprah Winfrey over the past decade.

The Vancouver resident's A New Earth is the book that sold the most copies after Winfrey chose it for her TV book club, according to Nielsen BookScan.

Published in 2008, the self-help guide sold 3.4 million copies after being anointed by the influential talk show host.

It was followed on the BookScan list by James Frey's infamous A Million Little Pieces -- a purported addiction memoir that was later exposed as more fiction than fact -- and Elie Wiesel's Holocaust autobiography Night.

In determining its tally, Nielsen only included works released in special Winfrey book club editions. Nielsen does not have numbers for Winfrey's club from 1996 to 2000.

With the last episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show set to air on May 25, many in the book business are contemplating what effect the show's end will have on book sales.

During her 25-year run on television, Winfrey gave a career boost to many authors whose titles were chosen for both her Oprah's Book Club and Summer Reading List. Yet Oprah's Book Club occasionally drew criticism - notably from author Jonathan Franzen - for including populist picks, and targeting a primarily female audience.

Did Oprah's Book Club have a positive impact? Why or why not? Did you ever read a book recommended on Oprah's show? In the spirit of the program, we'd love to hear what's on your list of summer reads this year. Let us know in the comments below.

(This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' responses.)


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