Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Oprah Does It Again

I swear that I'm not constantly searching for negative news combining Oprah Winfrey and books. She just seems to make so many poor choices lately that it is more a challenge to avoid that combination than it is to find it. Now we have this from about a book that she really has to be wishing had not been featured on her website. First she loved the book, then she denounced it, and now she's slipped up by pushing it again.
Oprah Winfrey has pulled a discredited children's book, Forrest Carter's "The Education of Little Tree," from a list of recommended titles on her Web site, blaming an archival "error" for including a work considered the literary hoax of a white supremacist.

"The archived listing was posted in error and has been removed," Winfrey spokeswoman Angela DePaul told The Associated Press on Tuesday, adding that she did not know long "Little Tree" had been on the site.

The AP had inquired last week about "The Education of Little Tree," which was featured on with "The Color Purple," "The Grapes of Wrath" and other "guaranteed page-turners from Oprah's personal collection." The list can also be linked to in-store computer searches at Barnes & Noble.
"I no longer—even though I had been moved by the story—felt the same about this book," she said in 1994. "There's a part of me that said, `Well, OK, if a person has two sides of them and can write this wonderful story and also write the segregation forever speech, maybe that's OK.' But I couldn't—I couldn't live with that."

According to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks about 70 percent of industry sales, "Little Tree" has sold about 11,000 copies in 2007. It was originally released by the Delacorte Press, then reissued a decade later by the University of New Mexico Press, which still publishes the book.
I have to wonder how many copies were sold by Oprah's endorsement. Since she has no idea how long the book has been featured on her website, there's really no way to tell. I understand, of course, that Oprah has "people" to take care of details for her, but I still would think that she would be a little more aware of what is being published and pushed in her name. Guess not.


  1. Sheesh. Obviously they need to slide over to Amazon and read the very informative customer reviews there. It seems Barnes and Noble chooses to publish only raves.

  2. Sylvia, that's exactly why I don't much fool with the Barnes & Noble reviews. They've never met a book they didn't like.