Oprah Opens Up to Osondu, Asks for a Video
Margaret Osondu, the owner of Osondu Booksellers, Waynesville, N.C., who has been campaigning since July (Shelf Awareness, July 24, 2006) to get Oprah Winfrey to visit her town and store, learn about the value of independent booksellers and promote indies when she promotes books, has finally gotten her foot in the door of the Oprah Show. Yesterday someone from Harpo Entertainment, Oprah's production company, e-mailed and asked her to send a video of the store and town.
"We're so excited," Osondu told Shelf Awareness. "We've gotten some form e-mails from Oprah, so I'm used to them and I almost deleted this one. But then I thought, this looks different."
The video should be sent by Thursday, so Osondu had a videographer come by last night to film an event in the store. There will be more filming today. "They said they will let us know in two weeks," she added.
The catalyst for the campaign, which has included many mailings to Oprah of letters and postcards and other material, was the July issue of O the Oprah Magazine, the "first-ever" summer reading issue with 64 recommended titles. On the cover, the magazine advertised "O's Amazon.com Deal Just For You," which consisted of a 10% discount on 20 of the titles.
At the time, Osondu told Shelf Awareness, "I started talking about it with our events coordinator, and it quickly became a big thing for me. We thought of encouraging Oprah to put in a plug for independents. Then we thought we could go see Oprah. Then I decided, 'Let's have Oprah come to Waynesville.' "
Osondu had sent things to Oprah on a weekly basis. "We just didn't stop," she said. "Everything we can think of we send." Recent mailings included a store tote bag and a copy of The King's English: Adventures of an Independent Bookseller by Betsy Burton.
Apparently there was something in the air waves yesterday. As if the request from Harpo for a videotape wasn't enough good news for Osondu, yesterday the TV world shined on her daughter, Amanda Lydon, as well. Lydon, manager of Good Yarns Bookshop in Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y., got a call from the Today Show, asking to film an event at the store tomorrow night. Abby Seixas, a psychotherapist and author of Finding the Deep River Within: A Woman's Guide to Recovering Balance and Meaning in Everyday Life, will appear at 7 p.m.
are even more serendipitous connections to this story. Lydon commented
that "aside from the obvious synchronicity of both my mother and I
being contacted at our respective bookstores by national media on the
same day, I had always associated Abby with my parents because she is a
Massachusetts-based psychotherapist and so were my mom and step dad
when I was growing up."
She added that the Today Show interest apparently "stems from a story they are doing on Abby about her grassroots publicity attempt to get herself book attention. She's been a great author to work with--relentless about trying to get the word out about her book. In fact, she got a fantastic review in O magazine this September! Abby is from Hastings originally, so a book party at bookstore in her home town would be a great addition to the Today show segment on the author."