Collins U.K. Picks Up Self-Published Cookbook Phenomenon
Earlier this year, a British woman named Sally Bee, who survived three heart attacks at age 36 and overcame a congenital heart defect, self-published her first cookbook, The Secret Ingredient. It was a bestseller in the U.K., selling 8,000 copies in a matter of weeks and reaching #20 on Amazon, and #1 in the Cookery category. The White House learned of Bee’s story, ordered 12 copies and invited Bee to visit Michelle Obama’s kitchen garden and cook together. Collins will repackage and republish The Secret Ingredient for March 2010, and has signed up a second book from Bee for spring 2011. For now, there is no U.S. publisher, so Collins will distribute the book stateside.

Stewart, Tabori & Chang Launches Cookbook E-Newsletter
Lifestyle publisher Stewart, Tabori & Chang sent out the first issue of At the Table with Stewart, Tabori & Chang last week. The quarterly e-newsletter will feature author interviews, previews of upcoming cookbooks, sample recipes, author tour events, giveaways and other tidbits. It will go out to cookware retailers, cooking industry professionals, foodie and parenting/mommy bloggers, traditional media contacts, authors and agents. The summer edition features titles from STC’s spring ’09 season, including Fran Gage’s The New American Olive Oil and Orlando Murrin’s A Table in the Tarn.

Mastering the Art of French Cooking Outselling Julie & Julia

Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, a $40 hardcover, appears to be outpacing the $7.99 mass market edition of Julie Powell’s Julie & Julia. The AP reports Knopf has gone back to press for an additional 75,000 copies of Mastering, which last week was sold out on Amazon. Other Child works selling strongly are My Life in France, Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom and a paperback edition of Mastering.

A Blog Tour for Foodies

Almost Meatless authors Tara Mataraza Desmond and Joy Manning, who talked to PW about their Ten Speed Press cookbook earlier this year, invited food bloggers across the U.S. and Canada to cook recipes from the book and then to blog about it later the same day, July 29. They got 35 bloggers to participate, says the Christian Science Monitor. No word on whether the activity boosted sales, but Desmond told the paper it fostered connections. “In this digital age, when treasured, traditional cookbooks as we’ve known them are losing their place in our lives, it meant a great deal to read everyone’s blog posts, which had been inspired by the pages of our book."

WSJ Test Runs Personalized Cookbook Sites
The Wall Street Journal reviewed sites that let consumers make personalized cookbooks: TasteBook, Create My Cookbook, Blurb and Bookemon. TasteBook received points for its straightforward and fun navigation, but lost a few because it doesn’t have the capability to receive scanned recipes. Still, “It looked like a professional cookbook we would buy from a store.” Create My Cookbook got props for allowing customers to upload their own color images, but the program only offers black text, a white background and one font. Blurb is loaded with bells and whistles, but “isn’t as easy to navigate as the other sites we tested.” And Bookemon is easy to use, and makes books that “could rival any in a store with superior quality paper, a thick cover and a glossy finish.”

This story originally appeared in Cooking the Books, PW's e-newsletter for cookbooks.