By contractual agreement with Little, Brown, venerable publisher of so many of my favorite authors, I will be UNPUBLISHING The Book of Schmaltz: Love Song to a Forgotten Fat tomorrow morning, so that Little, Brown can roll out the book in hardcover this coming August. So, if you want it for your iPad or iPad mini at the lowest price you'll ever see it, get it now (it's received nothing but critical raves, I'm proud to say, and is being offered at half the price it will go for electronically in August and for one-quarter its hardcover jacket price). If you already own it, don't delete it from your device and you will continue to be able to use it (see note at bottom of post for more info). It will be republished after the hardcover is out.
I'm happy to unpublish what Donna and I and others worked so hard on because I think it's best suited to being a hardcover book (many, many have asked for this). Hardcover books are what mainstream publisher do well: print, warehouse, and ship books (a case of which has put my back out more than once). For those who prefer electronic books (I adore the search function in the digital cookbooks I own), it will also be available from the publisher for all devices as an ebook. Again, I will republish the app, perhaps with additional material, video, additional recipes that I might come up with, etc., at an appropriate time that I'll decide on with Little, Brown. Apps are organic, a fact that makes them so appealing to me—I've wanted to put in video and a better recording of the wonderful Lois Baron, who sparked the book.
I feel very lucky that my experiment in self-publishing has gone so well, and I never expected this quirky work on a great but maligned animal fat in fat-phobic America would be desirable to a mainstream publisher (their purchase of something I was about to publish on my own is unprecedented my editor told me). The truth is, schmaltz—chicken fat and skin rendered with onion— is one of those amazing essences that makes all food better, and it's an ingredient that you simply can't buy (like mayonnaise and veal stock).
More and more authors are self-publishing as more people are reading digitally (I actually prefer prose books this way; cookbooks, no denying there's something about holding a hard copy, flipping through it, browsing; you don't browse a digital book). See last week's story on David Mamet self-publishing, above the fold on page one of the NYTimes (is there a fold in the digital version?). I'm fascinated by what's happening in publishing. I published The Main Dish as a Kindle Single, my 35-page essay on how I became a food writer without really trying (my title, The Accidental Foodwriter, was nixed). On Tuesday the NYTimes printed an article on David Blum, Kindle Single's editor/gatekeeper, as singles gain serious traction. I've written a long novella/short novel unrelated to food that I might publish electronically since fiction is so hard, its length makes a hard copy tricky, and I'm not known for Nicholas Sparksian chick lit (who'd have thought?!). Digital publishing makes it possible for a doctor, Frank Huyler, who wrote one of my all-time favorite nonfiction books, The Blood of Strangers, to publish his own novella, Castaway, through a company called Byliner as a Kindle Single.
So buy Schmaltz for your iPad or iPad mini today or early tomorrow in the iTunes app store before it vanishes from the marketplace in this app form ($8 now; it will be $12 in ebook form, with a $27 cover price for the book book).
And if you don't have an iPad or simply prefer hardcovers, I assure you, The Book of Schmaltz will not disappoint. Pre-order now to make sure you get your copy! (My last solo effort, Ruhlman's Twenty, sold out in three weeks and wasn't available for four months after—something that breaks an author's heart). Please know that pre-orders are huge help to the author, a fact I only just learned.
And regardless of all this, beloved readers of this site, cook your own food and think for yourself. Have a good time. Life is short, so make it sweet.
Pre-order the hardcover of The Book of Schmaltz at the following venues:
A note to readers who own the Schmaltz app: You'll be able to use your copy as long as you don't delete it from your device. See this article for details. Be sure it's backed up on your computer (if it's not go to the iTunes store on your computer and download it; if you've already purchased it, you won't need to pay for it again; this way you can put it back on your device or add it to new devices). When I re-republish it in early 2014, you can simply update to your device automatically and it will include any additional material I've added. Feel free to ask me questions in the comment sections below).
If you liked this post, check out these other links:
- My recent post on matzo ball soup made with schmaltz.
- A few recipes from Schmaltz appear on Epicurious.com.
- Visit my store to see my various kitchen tools.
- Shiksa in the Kitchen is a food blog I admire that also features various Jewish dishes.
© 2013 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2013 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.