On the Books: Is Mark Zuckerberg starting the world's largest book club? | EW.com

Books | Shelf Life

On the Books: Is Mark Zuckerberg starting the world's largest book club?

Mark Zuckerberg

(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

- Is Mark Zuckerberg going to be the new Oprah? Even more inconceivable—might Facebook be getting people off of social media and into books? Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg just might make it happen with his New Year’s resolution to read a new book every two weeks in 2015. “A Year of Books” has already accrued nearly 160,000 likes on Facebook, and Zuckerberg’s 30 million-strong Twitter following means his selections could have a sizable impact on book sales.

Indeed, Perseus, the publisher of Zuckerberg’s first selection—The End of Power by Moses Naim—has already ordered a massive new print run to fill the demand, since there aren’t many copies in the market. The sociopolitical pick, subtitled “From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being in Charge Isn’t What It Used to Be,” has surged to number 34 on the Amazon Best Sellers Rank and number 2 in all of its subcategories. Perseus CEO David Steinberger is excited by the renewed interest in the book, saying that the publisher “always believed in the book and that it had a unique message for our time,” adding, “We are excited Mark Zuckerberg agrees with us.” Zuckerberg said all of his picks will have “an emphasis on learning about different cultures, beliefs, histories and technologies.” You and the other 1.3 billion people on Facebook can join the discussion on the community page Zuckerberg set up.

-Matt Bissonnette, the Navy SEAL who killed Osama Bin Laden, has filed a lawsuit against the lawyers that advised him about his memoir No Easy Day—an account of the famed SEAL Team Six mission. Bisonnette says that his lawyers told him it was okay to publish the book—which he wrote under the name Mark Owen—containing sensitive details about the highly secretive mission. The book’s release prompted an inquiry from the Pentagon and a criminal probe by the DOJ, which led to a settlement deal stipulating that Bissonnette forfeit past and future profits from the book to the government. Having already paid $4.5 million to the government, he is seeking damages for fines and lost income. [GalleyCat]

-Nielsen BookScan, which captures about 80 percent  of all print book sales in the U.S., reports 635 million unit sales for 2014—a 2.4 percent bump from 2013, and a 7.6 percent increase since the industry’s 2012 low-point. (Though some of this can be attributed to the fact that Nielsen added Walmart’s book sales to its data pool.) The week before Christmas in particular saw 22 percent more unit gains compared to that week last year. And, not surprisingly, the young adult genre saw the greatest improvement in unit sales, with juvenile nonfiction reads rising 15.6 percent and fiction titles up 12 percent. [Publishers Weekly]