In its latest move to develop original podcasts tied closely to its content ecosystem, the tech giant on Tuesday released the first episode of Oprah’s Book Club. The podcast is part of a larger collaboration between Apple and Oprah’s Book Club that includes an Apple TV+ series of the same name in which Winfrey hosts an in-depth discussion about a recently published title.
Oprah’s Book Club podcast is an eight-part miniseries focused on Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents. Caste, published on Aug. 4, paints a picture of the hidden hierarchy of human ranking that has shaped America. It quickly earned a spot on the New York Times bestsellers list in the nonfiction category.
Through two new episodes each week, released on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Winfrey and Wilkerson will host discussions with a diverse group of guests as they explore the eight pillars of caste outlined in the book.
Oprah’s Book Club first began as a segment of The Oprah Winfrey Show in the 1990s. In fall 2019, as Apple was gearing up for the launch of subscription video service Apple TV+, the company announced that it would team with Winfrey to relaunch Oprah’s Book Club as a multi-platform initiative. (Winfrey had struck a multiyear content deal with Apple a year earlier.) Titles selected for the book club are highlighted in the Apple Books app and then featured in an episode of the Oprah’s Book Club TV+ series. Recent selections have included James McBride’s Deacon King Kong and Robert Kolker’s Hidden Valley Road.
Winfrey chose Caste as her next book club title in August, saying at the time that it “provides a new way of seeing racial inequality, giving rise to countless aha moments and helping us truly understand America as it is now and how we hope it will be.” In announcing the selection, Apple revealed that a collection of related articles curated by Winfrey would become available on Apple News and that an interview with Wilkerson would stream on Apple Music. Winfrey will also discuss the novel with Wilkerson on her Apple TV+ show this fall.
With the podcast, Apple is furthering the collaboration. It’s also following the roadmap it has established for its move into the production of original audio programming as its eight-year-old Apple Podcasts app, long the market leading podcast distribution platform, faces increased competition from Spotify and Amazon.
Thus far, Apple’s in-house podcast efforts have been tied closely to its other properties. This summer, it introduced The Zane Lowe Interview Series, which features in-depth conversations from the DJ’s Apple Music show, and daily news roundup Apple News Today from its Apple News group. The team behind Apple TV+ anthology series Little America is also prepping a companion podcast, showrunner Lee Eisenberg revealed earlier this year.
Listen to the trailer and first episode of Oprah’s Book Club below.