July 12, 2007 - 1:52pm
'Village Baker' out-of-print
I had an unshipped order for Ortiz's Village Baker open with Amazon .. turns out (after waiting for many weeks) that the book is out of print.
I managed to buy a like-new copy ... maybe this is good information for anybody who did consider to buy this book sometiime. I hear this book is very good - and now I hope it is indeed.
Abebooks is a great source for used books. Others can try that!
Eek! I keep meaning to pick up a copy of The Village Baker but always put it off, assuming I'll find a used copy at Powell's some day. I better grab one before they become too scarce.
On a related note, I just got an advance copy of Daniel Leader's new book Local Breads: Sourdough and Whole-Grain Recipes from Europe's Best Artisan Bakers. My first thought was that it reminded me of The Village Baker (in a good way). I'm not sure how well that will hold up on closer inspection, but that was my initial judgement.
Just to let you know - as soon as I read this post I went to Amazon and the cheapest copy of The Village Baker was $68.00 and that was for a used copy!!! I jumped over abebooks.com per the post above (thanks for the suggestion!) and was able to get a copy for about $28.00 plus $4.00 shipping. Guess it's beginning to be a collecters item already-
Abebooks is (now) only selling copies from $50-$140 ... at that price and facing the situation that one cannot buy a 'regular' copy it's worth considering to make a copy from a library owned edition.
I am surprised that non-fiction books that are well received and sought after would not be sold anymore ... unless a newer, expanded version would be about to enter the market. However there seems to be no indication that this would be the case here.
Well, on the up-side we can always share formulas and information at a place like this ... of course it's not quiet the same as reading the entire volume.
Try ordering it directly from Gayle's Bakery (in Capitola, CA, owned by Gayle & Joe Ortiz):
That was a great tip, but I called and talked to a very friendly Lady ... They have no copies anymore either. Back to square one on the black market :)
P.S. I had the same situation with Susan Dunaway's 'No Need to Knead' ... although after obtaining one of the mystically illusive copies I thought there may have been too much hype around this book (or at least it's not quite my style)
I thought that was a good tip too.
The Village Baker is such a classic... my mind still boggles that it is going out of print. That's like finding out that Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band had gone out of print (or for something more my generation, The Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique). Can they even do that?
Well, they are doing it ... although Ten Speed Press tells me that they have no official 'block' for this book. They just have 'no intention at this time to issue a reprint' ... which I guess is factual the same. A reprint would also take months and maybe they feel that they could not sell another tens-of-thousands of copies of the 'Village Baker'.
Great (or even mediocre) books go out of print, and suddenly the prices soar. Go to Ebay and you'll find outrageous prices there too.
But there are lots of great books around. If you happened to miss out on The Village Baker (and I didn't, pleased to say), there are plenty more. You have several in your library, or you can find them at reasonable prices in local bookstores or online.
A few years ago, when my interest in baking bread had just been rekindled, I found Amy's Bread in the library. It was great, but I couldn't keep it. So I went a-looking and found it was out of print and I was out of luck.
But now I have a bulging library of classics and non-classics, enough so that any new book will need a really good reason to be added. I've ordered from my local bookstore Peter Reinhart's upcoming book because it's focused on whole grains. But, while some of the others mentioned on this site are tempting, there doesn't seem to be a lot of reason for me to go buy them. The books I already have - combined with the wisdom of this web site - covers just about all my needs.
Missing out on The Village Baker is not a big deal.
That's true, Rosalie. But in those books may be some piece of information, a certain way to explain things that may be very useful some day - if not immediately. It's always good to have access to many different point of views. A library copy works as well, of course - and it good to check with your local bookstore - they actually may have some copies sitting there because 'nobody' else in your town is looking for them ... that is one of the best bets when a book is just about disappearing from the shelves. Good that you mentioned that.
I buy most of my stuff - an books in particular - from Amazon, so much that I actually forgot about B&N, Borders and Co.
Yeah... there are a lot of solid bread books around these days (and a few websites for bakers worth visiting!) but that doesn't mean it isn't disappointing to see The Village Baker go out of print. To use a musical metaphor again, that is kind of like saying it is no big deal if Jimi Hendrix records go out of print because you can listen to Lenny Kravitz or any of the 8 million other guitarists who try to sound like him to hear the same thing. Yes, I suppose you can, but that is missing the point, which is how much he changed the course of music (or, in Ortiz's case, Americans' knowledge of old world breads).
It is true that most of the information in The Village Baker has been further expounded on in other books since, and I certainly wouldn't tell a new baker that they had to go out and find a copy of it regardless of the price. But for those of us who do have a shelf full of books about bread baking, seeing The Village Baker go out of print is a sad event. It is a tremendous book.
No Stevie Ray Vaughn..uh oh, I love Henry Garcia of Los Lonely Boys..I'm one of those who treasures the classics, get'em while you can...The Village Baker, Joe Ortiz.."the classics" never go out of style
Try the hardcover edition on Amazon. I scored a hardcover version, signed by the author, in great condition for just under $35. I placed my order July 13 and today received the book. There are other ones available there so go check. Also, you might check half.com for several affordable copies in both hardcover and paperback.
I saw that one too, Zola :) I opted for the 'like new' version though since I was not sure about the advertized signing. I received my book (hardcover in most perfect condition) two days ago and read through some parts of it. I found some interesting information about natural dough 'improvers' like the 2% addition of Rye Flour. I heard that before but not with a specific quantity and explanation. Also, the 'booster-mix' he offers is worth a try - not rocket science or something to register a patent with, but a good thought. ... So I am hopeful that I could learn a great deal from this book. There is a section about 'starters' that I am looking forward to.
Hedera, this may sound like blasphemy to the one or other but the 'Village Baker' did not impress me a whole lot ... However, one has to consider that this book was exceptional at the time it was published - in todays context though you get books that are better structured and in many ways more useful than this one.
If you have a chance, check the 'Village Baker' out in a library before you'd spend prime dollar on this book.
About the recipes .... Ortiz repeats (most of) the recipes in the second half of the book - more in terms of 'formulas'. That may be the reason that some are talking about 50 (original) recipes/formulas. The paperback and hardcover are identical.