Schmaltz is getting ready for book form. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

Schmaltz, chicken fat rendered with onion, an initial “cover” photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

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:

Pre-order from IndieBound.

Pre-order from Amazon or Amazon Kindle version.

Pre-order from Barnes & Noble.

Pre-order ebook from iTunes.

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:

© 2013 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2013 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.





12 Wonderful responses to “On Schmaltz and Digital Publishing”

  • Brenda

    Very excited to see this coming out in hardcover! I’m still a bound cookbook purist and it will be great to add this to my collection. The pre-order page says this book is 192 pages long. Is that correct? Very awesome news if it is! I was under the impression that the ebook was shorter.

    • Michael Ruhlman

      it was supposed to be shorter (25 reciepes) but i go in depth about cooking them more than expected. I think this is the way of the future.

  • Bob Y

    This blog is increasingly becoming a vehicle for self-promotion rather than about food and cooking. I really preferred the less commercial version.

    • Michael Ruhlman

      This is indeed turning out to be a heavily promotional week, sorry. Hope you’ll join me for the Friday Cocktail Hour where I’ll introduce a brand new cocktail! And next week … back to our originally scheduled program.

  • Carolyn Z

    Glad it’s going to be a Kindle edition as well. There’s something about reading books on the Kindle that’s just not the same as on a hard copy. Not to say I don’t enjoy the hard copy. I do and sometimes I wish I had an electronic index of all my cookbooks. Can’t wait for Schmaltz to come out!

  • Melissa

    I get the biggest kick out of your unabashed, somewhat awkward yet genuine attempts at the sales schtick! 🙂

    • ruhlman

      thx for appreciating. it is odd, i both like and hate, am confused by, grateful for, etc. anyway thanks for noting the awkwardness. that too is genuine.

  • Cissa

    I bought the app for my iPad, and really love it! However, for back-up purposes, I am unable to download it onto my desktop machine, nor do I know how to copy the app from my iPad to my desktop (both mac). help? I would hate to lose it totally if something happened to my iPad.

  • Wysteria Manners

    I have almost all your books (neither charcuterie nor salumi – no interest at this time)– thrilled I got Schmaltz while it was available. I even went ahead & bought both Ratio and Twenty for my iPad. I have almost 2,000 cookbooks (yesh, it’s almost an addiction) and am re-purchasing my most-used for the iPad.I immediately asked John’s Live Poultry (in Chicago) where I buy my poultry, game birds, & rabbits to save up about 10# of chicken fat & skin. Made half of it into schmaltz & gribenes and am set! I’ve always rendered whatever chicken fat I could gather up, but knew nothing of the onion, nor had I ever even heard of gribenes. My Very Best Friend is Jewish, & when I asked her about all this, one of the things she told me was to put some of the gribenes into my chopped liver. So now, I’m going to have to ask John to gather up a couple pounds of chicken livers the next time I’m going there.

    Anyway, thanks for all you do in your special niche in the foodie community. Also really enjoyed The Main Diah.

  • Karen

    I am having the same problem as Cisse. Perhaps because the book is now unpublished. I had no idea this was happening and assumed I was backed up when I connected the iPad by USB. I made the kishke and it is excellent, but I did cut down on the pepper.

  • funny images, funny movies, funny pictures

    Hello there, I found your blog by means of Google while searching for a related matter, your website got here up, it seems to be good. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks. I am now not sure where you’re getting your information, however great topic. I needs to spend a while studying more or working out more. Thank you for fantastic info I was searching for this information for my mission.


  1.  Chasing the Dream: Chef Patricia Tracey<br/>(with Salsa Verde) | Michael Ruhlman
  2.  a little something different for St. Patrick’s Day … Reuben Knishes | STRESSCAKE
  3.  On Schmaltz and Digital Publishing | Foodies Love This