Are You a Foodie?

Do you know the difference between Ceviche and Ganache? Have you whipped up Risotto or Remoulade? If so, you're probably a foodie, and the Harvard Common Press has a website for you. Check out their blog: "HCP Dishes" - a food/cooking blog with recipes, cooking tips, and content from HCP books. Also check out the blog of Beth Hensperger, author of many of the "Not Your Mother's® " cookbooks. Beth is author of more than twenty cookbooks, including the James Beard Book Award-winning The Bread Bible. Tired of searching online for recipes among ad-filled, cluttered and poorly-designed websites? Here's one that is clean, fast, and loaded with nearly half a million fantastic recipes:, is a foodie's dream, a great new site that HCP has partnered with. The site is fully Facebook-integrated, and is "the world’s largest and most powerful recipe search site."


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Indie Groundbreaking Publisher: The Harvard Common Press

Inspiring Cookbooks & Parenting Guides You Can Trust
Publishing blockbuster fiction novels about wizards and hornets’ nests is one thing, but creating books that help people live richer, fuller lives is another. When those enriching books keep selling briskly for 25 years, you’ve really got something to be proud of –- especially if you’re an independent publisher.

The Harvard Common Press of Boston, Massachusetts, is one such independent publisher, and their book, The Nursing Mother’s Companion, by Kathleen Huggins —- was the first comprehensive handbook on breastfeeding ever published. The book just celebrated its 25th anniversary and is now in its sixth edition, with sales topping 1,000,000 copies.

Founded in 1976 in a house on the town square of Harvard, Massachusetts, The Harvard Common Press was purchased in the early 1980s by current president and publisher Bruce Shaw. In 1984, an unsolicited manuscript arrived at the company’s new office in the South End of Boston. That manuscript -- The Nursing Mother’s Companion – became the cornerstone of a childcare publishing program and set the tone for the company’s professional and nurturing style.

“That book, along with our other books on pregnancy and childbirth, sums up the ethos of our publishing program. We are all about empowering women, by taking what was a fearful experience and bringing to it knowledge, support and compassion,” says Shaw, who admits he “lives in women’s world.” For a long time he was the lone male in a staff of twelve.

“Kathleen Huggins is typical of our authors, who are experts in their subjects and active in their fields, both online and out in the world. We believe in our authors as brands, and work closely with them on a continuing basis.”

An upcoming spring 2011 release is Natural Hospital Birth: The Best of Both Worlds, by Cynthia Gabriel, a guide to “natural childbirth with minimal medical intervention and the peace of mind offered by instant access to life-saving technology that only a hospital can provide.”

Cookbooks are another vital publishing category for The Harvard Common Press. In the mid 1990s HCP was awarded its first James Beard Book Awards —- for Smoke & Spice and The Border Cookbook, both written by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison. The Jamisons are that same style of author who are “out there” promoting their books and the spirit of good cooking and eating.

“Our cookbook authors really ‘get’ our philosophy about cooking from a holistic viewpoint – preparing food that is wholesome, using natural ingredients, and is easy to prepare,” explains Shaw. “We believe in staying healthy and feeding yourself well.”

The company has become known for its barbecue, vegetarian, international, and regional American cookbooks. The books are value priced and beautifully designed and photographed. The wholesome, comfort-food attitude is exemplified by their best-selling “Not Your Mother’s” series, including the new release, Not Your Mother’s Casseroles.

“We think we’ve done a good job of bringing a new and fresh approach to ‘Mom’s home cooking’ with some stunning new casserole recipes,” says Shaw. “With these new recipes, along with new tools and new ingredients, it’s maybe even healthier than Mom’s cooking.”

Many HCP books pay tribute to the past, but Shaw and company definitely have their eyes on the future.

“Our mission is to survive in this new world of bookselling where we understand we’ll sell fewer and fewer print books. The ebook market has come alive, and the iPad has definitely made it into the kitchen,” says Shaw.

HCP is taking the ebook revolution to heart, and Shaw's "right hand man," Adam Salomone, is the company's Director of Digital Initiatives.

“We’ve been exploring the digital world very thoroughly and have had to change our thinking a bit, to perceive our catalogue not just as books, but as content," says Salomone. "We’re working hard to find ways to monetize the 20,000 recipes we’ve published. We feel it all has a place online, but we want to preserve the look and the quality our customers expect.”

I reminded Bruce Shaw about the last time we featured HCP in Independent Publisher magazine, way back in 2001.

“Wow, that really opens the floodgates, to think of how much has changed and how far we’ve come in ten years. This is a very exciting time…just wait and see what we’ve accomplished in another ten years!

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Download HCP's catalog of 2010-2011 Childbirth and Parenting titles:

Download HCP's catalog of Winter-Spring 2011 Cookbook titles: