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Oprah Sets First Book-Club Pick for New Apple TV Plus Series

Oprah Winfrey’s interviews with authors of her book club selections will be featured exclusively on Apple’s forthcoming Apple TV Plus service, and she’s announced the first book selection for the project: “The Water Dancer” by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

Apple teamed with Winfrey for Apple TV Plus series “Oprah’s Book Club,” premiering Nov. 1 when the service debuts worldwide. A new episode will be available every two months.

Besides trying to lure subscribers to Apple TV Plus — which will cost $4.99 monthly and will be free for one year to customers who purchase an Apple device — the tech giant to looking to sell e-books and audiobooks picked by Winfrey, the producer-actress-talk show host and philanthropist who is the CEO of OWN. According to Apple, the goal is to build “a vibrant, global book club that has the power to both transport and transform people.”

Coates’ “The Water Dancer” is billed as “a boldly conjured debut novel about a magical gift, a devastating loss, and an underground war for freedom” by the book’s publisher, Random House’s One World. Coates, national correspondent for The Atlantic, won the National Book Award in 2015 for “Between the World and Me.” Oprah appeared Monday on “CBS This Morning” to announce the pick, which is available for pre-order now on Apple Books for $14.99 in both ebook and audiobook formats and comes out Tuesday (Sept. 24).

For the book club and accompanying Apple TV Plus series, Winfrey will interview the authors at various locations. Her conversation with Coates about “The Water Dancer” will be shot in front of a live audience at Apple Carnegie Library in Washington, D.C., next month.

“I am who I am today because of the experience of learning to read at an early age. Reading opened up a whole world for me beyond the red dirt road and my grandmother’s porch in Mississippi,” Winfrey said in a statement. “I want to do that for everybody. And the opportunity to do this with Apple, to speak to people all over the world about the pleasures, the excitement, the tension, the drama that a good book can bring you… I don’t know what’s better than that.”

Apple CEO Tim Cook added, “Few people in the world can bring us together like Oprah, whose compassion and grace celebrating the power of books are unmatched.”

Apple and Winfrey signed a multi-year content partnership last year. Under that pact, she’s also developing two documentaries for Apple TV Plus, one about mental health and the other, titled “Toxic Labor,” shining a light on workplace harassment.

For every Oprah’s Book Club selection sold on Apple Books, the company said, it will make a contribution to the American Library Association to support local libraries. Apple has launched a dedicated section on iTunes and the Apple Books app for Oprah’s Book Club, available via apple.co/OprahsBookClub.

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