Since its debut 19 years ago, Oprah’s Book Club has made many a grateful author’s fortune. Can two other billionaires turn the same trick? This year, Mark Zuckerberg announced that he’d be reading a new tome every two weeks. He reaches 34 million followers with his musings about his picks, while through his ‘A Year of Books’ posts, there are discussions with authors and with the 470,000 who’ve ‘liked’ the project. Bill Gates’s personal reading blog (gatesnotes.com/ books) generates far less online chatter—what literary types might call a metaphor for the triumph of social media over the desktop PC.
We compared six recent recommendations from these two heavyweights’ personal book clubs to see who’s better at moving the product off the shelves. Two things we learnt: First, though Facebook and Microsoft might be headed in different directions, these two billionaires remain fairly competitive. Second, and more significant: No one, however influential, can come within ten Jonathan Franzens of Oprah’s power. Surprised? Nah, us neither.
(This story appears in the 16 October, 2015 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)