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The market for high end cookbooks


nathanm
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And I find most books there to be smaller, often paperback, and certainly not more expensive than here. Usually they are cheaper with less photos and simple paper. I have a bunch of them. And poking around on amazon.de, I find lots of books that are rather cheap, not many that would cost a lot of money.

Just my impressions of course, but I was actually surprised by the lack of "coffee table" style books in the stores. There were a few and a couple piles on bargain tables, but nothing like what I see here at just about any store. I had hoped for more.

Actually it is the other way around. The big difference between cookbooks in Germany and US is the low number of photos in US cookbooks (I have quite a lot of them which hardly have any) and the large number of photos in German cookbooks. Even my older German cookbooks have often photos of nearly every dish etc. Also the quality of paper in the US us rather disappointing compared to Germany. I don't know in which bookshops you have looked in Germany but there are many "coffee table" style book available.

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every bookstore I came across, can't remember their names. Talia was one, there are others. It is true that even the small paperback books usually have tons of photos, but many of the US ones I have do too. I'll look again next year for sure, if you have any favorite ones that you can recommend to look at, please let me know, maybe via PM to keep this on topic if it's more than a couple. But maybe one or the other here would also be interested, at least to take a look at them on amazon.de?

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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too late to edit, but I just spent an other half hour or so on amazon.de but have a hard time finding many books that cost more than 40 Euros. I find those mentioned above, but that's about it. There are some books I'd like to get and I put them on my wish list (Witzigmann, Kokje, Schubeck) and I'm sure there are more. I'm not familiar with current German chefs though. Maybe I'll get me a michelin guide for Germany one of these days just to find out about some.

But in the spirit of this thread, I really can't find many books that would cost more than 40 Euros. Current exchange rate makes this a bit pricey, but I tend to look at things in a 1:1 ratio if I want to get a feel for the value of something in Germany.

So, now I'm really curious what other high end and very expensive books there are, aside of those couple mentioned here. Some encyclopedic, some (vanity) show books like the El Bulli ones. Of course high production values and little print runs make things expensive.

I just can't find all the high end books catering to those that are happy to pay 100 or more Euros and now I'm really getting curious. I always look for suitcase stuffers on my way back from there :-)

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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that might explain part of why I have not seen (or can find on amazon.de) lots of expensive books, patisserie is not my dept :-)

Still, curious about other books. I've looked around on Amazon Germany quite a bit now and find most books are priced in the 20-40 Euro bracket, the smaller paperback ones that are much cheaper set aside. There are actually lots of those, smaller books, maybe 150-200 pages focusing on something like pasta, bbq, etc. Many photos, generally useful, but also not expensive at all. Grafe und Unzer is one such publisher and I have a couple, some are almost more booklets or little magazines if you will. All with good recipes and instructional photos and each less than 10 Euro.

Now, I can only look at Germany and Austria, don't know about France, Spain, England, etc, I just can't find that many high priced high end books, at least not more than I can find on the US market. That's just where I'm struggling with the subject of this thread. There are some vanity books (big fat duck, El Bulli) that are gorgeous in and out, but certainly not made for a large market. Somebody mentioned 14.000 being printed of the El Bulli book, that's not many books. Ad Hoc at Home had over 100.000 printed (and sold out) just recently, a list price $50 book.

Hopefully somebody can add a couple more high priced great books to this thread for us to check out! I like to treat myself to the occasional wonderful book, books are one of my passions. Especially some that are as gorgeous and well made as the Big Fat Duck one.

Edited by OliverB (log)

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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The price of books is in no small part dependent on what a specific market can tolerate, and of course is lessened or worsened for other customers depending on the exchange rate. Small print runs cost more per book, and in the case of professional or vanity works, often have high production values which pushes up the cost even further.

The US market doesn't seem to tolerate particularly high prices for consumer oriented books, whereas there does seem to be more latitude in some European countries (Gräfe and Unzer published some very expensive books by Christian Teubner; my copy of Le Ricette Regionali Italiane cost EUR40 about five years ago; Planet Marx: EUR130; some books by Alain Ducasse or Pierre Hermé; and then there are all the professional books from publishers Montagud or Matthaes). It is true that some of these books do not have parallels in terms of scope or quality in the English speaking markets, but others are just priced to the audience.

From my local book market (Australia), it is interesting to observe that the pain threshold (from publishers' perspective) is about AUD 125 for a big-name bible-cum-cookbook (Stephanie Alexander, Maggie Beer); that's equivalent to anywhere between USD65 and USD112, depending on exchange rates in the last year or so. Even at the lowest price in USD, that makes the big Australian productions unusually expensive compared to the US, and also to the UK, where cookery books have a pain limit of about GBP35 most of the time. The second-tier threshold in Australia of AUD80 or so corresponds better to the USD50/GBP35 zone.

@OliverB: I'm sorry to say, but to complain about the elBulli books lacking recipes on paper is perhaps to misunderstand the point of the books and the design intentions of the authors. These aren't recipe books. They're guides, philosophies, stimuli, anthologies and vanity works rolled into one.

-- lamington a.k.a. Duncan Markham

The Gastronomer's Bookshelf - collaborative book reviews about all things food and wine

Syrup & Tang - candid commentary and flavourful fancies

"It's healthy. It's cake. It's chocolate cake."

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thanks for those names, I'll def look at Teubner's books next time I'm over there. Can't speak for France/Spain, as I don't speak those languages.

As for the ElBulli book, I know what you're saying. I just had hoped for more recipes than photos of cooks. The book is interesting, but too big and expensive for what I'd get out of it. If I find it used or on the bargain table some day, I'll probably pick it up though :-)

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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