FaceBook’s New Book Club

FACEBOOK’S NEW BOOK CLUB

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg made a New Year’s resolution to read two books a month in 2015, and he’s inviting his 31 million Facebook friends to join him. https://www.facebook.com/ayearofbooks

Zuckerberg created a Facebook page, “A Year of Books,” where readers can follow along and discuss the books he’s reading. He posted his first selection, “The End of Power,” by Moises Naim.

Before Zuckerberg endorsed it, “The End of Power,” which came out in March 2013, sold 20,000 copies across all formats. Now, it’s shot up to No. 19 on Amazon’s best-seller list.

In a Facebook post on his personal page, Zuckerberg wrote that he would be focusing on books about different cultures, beliefs, histories and technologies. He described “The End of Power” as “a book that explores how the world is shifting to give individual people more power that was traditionally only held by large governments, militaries and other organizations.”

In the social media era, celebrities and public figures can push sales of a book overnight. Last summer, Bill Gates blogged about the best books he had ever read, and named “Business Adventures,” an out-of-print 1969 nonfiction title by John Brooks, as his favorite. The book shot to No. 2 on The New York Times nonfiction e-book best-seller list. Open Road Media brought the book back into print in a paperback edition in August, and has since sold more than 77,000 print copies and more than 126,000 e-books.

It is unclear how influential Zuckerberg’s new reading initiative will be in the publishing industry, and whether he can confer something akin to the “Oprah effect.” “The End of Power” was hardly an obscure title before Zuckerberg promoted it. Mr. Naim is a former executive director of the World Bank and served as Venezuela’s minister of trade and industry. The book, which examines how power is shifting and disintegrating in business, religion, education and politics, was chosen as one of the best books of 2013 by The Financial Times. Still, Naim said he was stunned to learn he had essentially won Facebook’s literary lottery. “I was flabbergasted,” he said, and added he planned to participate in the discussion on Facebook.

Listen to The Book Report at your convenience. Go to https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-book-report/id540205917?mt=2, or at bookreportradio.com, click on Archived Shows

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