Sales of one of the book club selections would routinely hit the hundreds of thousands as the titles shot up a variety of best seller lists. "This is going to make a lot of people unhappy," said Sayre.
There will be unhappy people in the music industry too. According to Keith Caulfield, a senior chart manager at Billboard magazine, when the Black Eyed Peas performed on "The Oprah Winfrey Show's" season opener this year, its album sales jumped 29 percent. And when Whitney Houston gave a two-part interview to Oprah, her album sales shot up 77 percent.
And Oprah's Midas touch affected business both large and small.
Felix Doolittle, based in Newton, Mass., is a small stationery company. Co-owner Loren Sklar remembers the day the company heard that Oprah Winfrey had picked Felix Doolittle as her all-time favorite stationery. "When we were picked, it's hard to describe, you really do feel plucked out of the great masses and you have this light shine on you. It's something everyone in business dreams of," said Sklar.
Sklar said the imprimatur of an Oprah pick is unlike anything else, because Oprah's fans are so loyal.
Doolittle was first named to one of O magazine's gift lists more than a year ago. That selection translated immediately into sales and became a marketing tool the company could use on its Web site and Facebook page.