Backlist cookbooks proved to be strong sellers in July, whether the topic was juicing, canning, or country cooking with singer Trisha Yearwood. (Click here for the full list of July's bestselling cookbooks.)
#4 Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen: Recipes From My Family to Yours by Trisha Yearwood
Trisha Yearwood may be best known as a country music star, but since 2008, she’s also been sharing her passion for food with the world, beginning with the publication of Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen: Recipes from My Family to Yours. In 2010, Yearwood published her second cookbook, Home Cooking With Trisha Yearwood: Stories and Recipes to Share with Family and Friends, and in April 2012, the Food Network debuted her cooking show, Trisha’s Southern Kitchen. Yearwood’s publisher, Clarkson Potter, released the paperback edition of Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen in July, and it occupies the number four spot on PW’s cookbook bestseller list for July.
Yearwood’s attention to detail is one of the reason Pam Krauss, publisher of Pam Krauss Books, enjoys being her editor. “When Trisha’s photographer Ben Fink and I met with Trisha at her home in Nashville, she had just flown in that morning from Oklahoma carrying a Tupperware container of homemade chicken salad on her lap,” said Krauss. “She knew she wouldn’t have time to cook before we arrived, and it was important to her that she serve us something she had made herself.” Yearwood also takes the time to make sure everything represents her authentic self when it comes to the photos in the cookbook, Krauss explained. “She packed and transported cartons of her personal serving pieces and tabletop items to the photo studio in New York to make sure that the food shots really evoked her own aesthetic, even though they were being taken a thousand miles away from her home. From the beginning, she had a clear and certain vision for her food and her brand. I remember asking her at one point if she wouldn’t like to substitute another kind of cheese for the cheddar in one of her recipes, since we had Cheddar in a few other dishes already. ‘I like Cheddar,’ she told me, and that was that. As it should be.”
For the paperback release of Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen, Clarkson Potter ran a radio promotion targeting core country fans. During July and August, the publisher is holding on-air giveaways at more than 50 stations. The cookbook has also been promoted online at key food sites and through Yearwood’s website. Fans seeking more of Yearwood’s recipes won’t have to wait long—Clarkson Potter will release her third cookbook, Trisha’s Table: My Feel-Good Favorites for a Balanced Life, next April.
#7 Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving: 400 Delicious and Creative Recipes for Today, edited by Judi Kingry and Lauren Devine
#8 The Juicing Bible: Second Edition by Pat Crocker
Two backlist books published by Canada’s Robert Rose, Inc. have also hit our July cookbook bestseller list: Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving (2006) and the second edition of The Juicing Bible (2008). With so many frontlist titles being released and promoted, what has propelled sales of these two books? President Robert Dees said he wishes it were his brilliance as a publisher, but conceded, “I think I’m smart in what I publish, but the reality is that part of being smart is being lucky.” The luck he speaks of is the fact that the markets for preserving and juicing have greatly expanded. “The size of the home preserving market was much smaller when we published the [Complete Book of Home Preserving], but the authors worked hard to produce an excellent book, and so we have a very strong title in a marketplace that grew.”
As for The Juicing Bible, Dees said that while the book was published roughly 15 years ago, over the first 12 years they sold between 150,000 and 200,000 copies through three editions. “Then, three years ago juicing became an extremely popular subject,” he said. “Dr. Oz and others were promoting the benefits of juicing, and we just happen to have one of the best books on the subject, so our sales grew exponentially over the last three years. We have a lot of competitors now, but we continue to do well with the book.” The first section of the book explains the health benefits of juicing, and the second has more than 300 recipes “to help you achieve what you read about in the beginning of the book,” said Dees. “It’s fundamentally a teaching volume.” The same, he added, can be said of the preserving book. “You have a significant section on the techniques of preserving, and a vast treasure trove of thoroughly tested recipes to make everything from jams to pickles to you name it.” Dees added that the books are designed to be the only ones readers would need on the subject, but also complement what they might already know about preserving or juicing.
As for promotion, Dees said the company is always looking for ways to keep people talking about the books. “We certainly do very extensive co-op to resellers and take up any opportunities to promote the books. Books get their maximum level of attention in the first six months they’re published, then you have to change the tools to continue to get attention in the marketplace.” Each title has more than 800,000 copies in print.