For a book fair devoted exclusively to cookbooks, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better venue than, say, the Louvre Museum.
And that was the case this past weekend when that the Paris Cookbook Fair took place in the Carrousel du Louvre, below the Pyramid. The fair brought in nearly 3,000 attendees to visit 102 booths of publishers, writers, and agents.
Visitors were able attend any of the nearly 100 events scheduled during the weekend at either of two lecture stages, a show kitchen, or at the bar in the dining area. In one lecture, cookbook agent Lisa Ekus addressed a standing-room audience of foreign publishers and writers on “What American Publishers Want.” Conference founder and organizer Edouard Cointreau spoke on global cookbook trends. “Cookbooks, just like music, have become a global market,” Cointreau argued. In addition to cookbooks, Cointreau discussed books on wine, beer, and spirits.
“Wine and drink books account for only 5% to 15% of sales, except in countries that are newly coming into appreciation of wine and beer.” Like China, where Cointreau lives and which he noted has proven to be an increasingly bigger market.
In the bar of the dining area (where a goat cheese and asparagus quiche, salad, and coffee was had for 17 euro), German publisher 99 Pages Verlag presented its book on sake.
Over at the show kitchen, Bon Appetit Ya’ll author Virginia Willis demonstrated the beauty of pulled pork with Georgia barbecue sauce; Japanese actor and celebrity chef Mocomishi cooked from his book Moco’s Kitchen.
From Belgium was Jeroen Meus, a talented and personable young man (and new father) who has had a daily TV food show for several years. The fourth volume in his "Dagelijkse Kost" ("Daily Fare") series was published last year and has sold nearly 500,000 copies to date. The publisher Van Halewyck, known mostly as a publisher of serious nonfiction, hopes to introduce Meus to American audiences as Belgium’s Jamie Oliver. In total, Meus’ books sold a million copies last year, and that’s to a country of 12 million people, only half of whom speak Dutch, the language in which the book is published.
Just as in the U.S. , it appears that publishers from all over the world are interested in healthful eating, including vegan and raw foods. Canadian publisher Robert Rose appeared to be getting solid attention for its raw and juicing books. Alice Grigg, international rights executive from Bloomsbury U.K., was pleased with this year’s show, saying they’ve been busy selling rights.
The Paris Cookbook Fair culminates with the Gourmand Awards. There were 1,050 attendees at this event, hoping to receive one of about 80 awards. The event lasted over three hours, and the number of awards can seem overwhelming, but as Cointreau noted, “These awards are like the Olympics. If you only have 10 awards, they would all be won by the three or four biggest countries.” Indeed, the event had at times the nationalist feel of the Olympics, with some of the winning authors and publishers running up to the podium waving flags or wearing traditional costumes of their countries.