With all the big books coming in May, it is still no surprise that Guy Fieri Food (Morrow. ISBN 9780061894558. $29.99), written with Ann Volkwein by the famed chef, restaurateur, and TV personality, is one of the biggest. (You can’t sneeze at a 250,000-copy first printing.) Cookbooks remain one of the thriving areas in publishing‚ and among the biggest circulators in public libraries‚ and Fieri is one of the top authors. To find out why, I talked with Cassie Jones, Fieri’s editor at Morrow.
With all the competition from the Internet, why are cookbooks still so hot?
You can easily find thousands of recipes on line, but a cookbook gives you something special–a window into a particular culinary vision. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the content out there, and what people often want is expertise, a point of view, a great voice. I think cookbooks and recipes online complement each other nicely‚ plenty of people purchase cookbooks and go online. It’s not one or the other.
Are people actually cooking more, with everyone’s busy schedule? Or do people read cookbooks as much for the pleasure as for the recipes?
It depends on the person, I suppose. Certainly a lot of people love to read cookbooks for fun‚ I know I do. But with the tough economy and concerns about food safety, a lot of people want to take a more engaged approach to their eating‚ knowing where their produce is coming from, feeling more self-sufficient, choosing to entertain at home.
What has the power of television got to do with the surge of interest in cookbooks? Do you have to have a show now to be a top-selling cookbook author?
Having a television show is of course a great platform, but simply having a show isn’t a guarantee that a book will work. Meanwhile, there are other terrific sources of cookbook talent, such as from blogs or celebrated restaurants. Wherever the author is coming from, it’s important that he or she has a great concept and either a really broad fan base or an absolutely devoted core group of followers who can build a groundswell of interest.
And, of course, what makes Guy Fieri Food stand out from all the other cookbooks in the crowd?
He’s Guy! He’s an absolutely magnetic personality who’s always out there having fun. You just want to be with him, in the kitchen or wherever else he is. His passion is real, his food is lively and high-energy, and he appeals to people of all ages. Guy Fieri Food is filled with his favorite recipes, tons of photos and stories‚ even art hand-drawn by his tattoo guy, Joe Leonard. It’s like no other cookbook out there‚ it’s pure Guy.