When she declared in April that she was all but ending her enormously popular book club, Oprah Winfrey may have thought she was leaving a great void. But plenty of other media outlets have stepped in to fill it. Just three days after Oprah's announcement, the Today show said it would start a monthly club of its own. USA Today and Live with Regis and Kelly soon followed, and last week Good Morning America jumped into the literary fray, announcing its first title, Ann Packer's The Dive from Clausen's Pier. Though all tout Winfrey as the book-club queen, each media outlet has tried hard to distinguish itself from her--and from one another. --By Harriet Barovick
LIVE WITH REGIS AND KELLY
How it works: "Reading with [Kelly] Ripa" --with beach-blanket picks like Kate White's If Looks Could Kill--dubs members Ripheads. Among its rules: "Any hint of a life-affirming message will lead to...disqualification from book club."
How it works: With a "wide range" of fiction and nonfiction, Today's "twist," says a spokesperson, is to have a best-selling author choose a book from a lesser-known writer each month. The show announces its first selection this week.
How it works: Chosen every six weeks, the picks have included Laura Hillenbrand's Seabiscuit, the story of the underdog Depression-era racehorse. Book editor Carol Memmott claims the books have "a broader appeal than Oprah's." Another feature: members can chat with authors and other fans at bookclub.usatoday.com
GOOD MORNING AMERICA
How it works: A segment called "Read This" will each month profile a different regional book club, whose members will then choose the next book. Last week viewers met the margarita-sipping, tiara-sporting Pulpwood Queens of Jefferson, Texas; their recommendation of Ann Packer's book shot it to No. 1 on Amazon.com