Oprah started her famous book club in 1996, and it quickly became clear just how famous she was. An endorsement from Oprah sent unknown authors into serious fame. Oprah would choose ten books per year, then interview the authors on air after the club finished the book. "It's the ultimate book club; it's very broad and very deep," Jonathan Galassi, president of Farrar, Straus & Giroux told the LA Times. "It's been a wonderful enhancement to publishing fiction."
Oprah's book club literally changed author Janet Fitch's life. After releasing her novel White Oleander, she was blown away by the sales from Oprah's Book Club. "I'd spent basically 20 years just living a writer's life," Fitch told the LA Times. "Oprah said it would go over a million by the time it was all over, and it was true." After seeing its success, Hollywood producers turned the book into a movie starring Michelle Pfeiffer.
However, the book club was not always a feel-good event. When author James Frey fabricated much of his memoir A Million Little Pieces, Oprah brought him back on the show to discuss the controversy and wasn't shy about the fact that she disapproved. "I feel duped," Winfrey told Frey. "But more importantly, I feel that you betrayed millions of readers." The lesson here? Never ever try to con Oprah Winfrey.