'Superbook' publishers grow fat as Blumenthal becomes latest star to release a £1,000 tome

Anyone tucking into Heston Blumenthal's famous snail porridge or pommery grain mustard ice cream at his Fat Duck restaurant can expect to spend serious cash. But buying the latest edition of his cookbook and having a go yourself will put an even more serious dent in your wallet.

For £1,000, you get a luxury leather-bound tome produced in association with the royal jeweller Asprey which includes two surprise "silver gifts".

Blumenthal is the latest celebrity to launch an elaborate, high-end publication carrying a price tag far beyond the reach of the average earner.

Despite the credit crunch, an entire industry has sprung up to cater to an increasing number of customers willing to spend thousands of pounds on luxury books from the shelves of the world's most exclusive shops.

Another example is The New York Book – a 16kg silk-bound volume depicting life in the city, which is sold only at Harrods in London or Barney's in Manhattan. Encased in a crystalline tower case, the limited edition, 700-page book costs £7,600. It is the third project by the publisher Gloria, which has already released a 12kg epic about the footballer Pelé and another about the gold-encrusted lives of superyacht owners. Gloria's customers, apart from yacht owners themselves, include professional footballers, City bankers and wealthy Arab collectors.

Many "superbooks" target wealthy sports enthusiasts – the kind who can afford a corporate box at a cup final. A luxury biography of the boxing legend Muhammad Ali, published last year by Taschen, featured four silver gelatine prints by the photographer Howard L Bingham, signed by Ali himself, and cost £5,000.

Some of the most expensive books are produced by Kraken Opus, which once specialised in sports titles but has branched out into luxury volumes. Its latest offering is a series of books produced with Vivienne Westwood, and it has just signed a deal with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to make a book about the Oscars.

Karl Fowler, the chief executive of Kraken Opus, said the key to turning a book into a lucrative investment opportunity was to keep the content exclusive.

"We produced a book with Formula 1 recently and the most exclusive edition, which was limited to just 100 books and costs £20,000, contained the signatures of all 19 F1 champions alive today," he said. "That had never been done before and the first 15 editions were immediately snapped up by a hedge fund.

"We are now paid by that hedge fund to store those books in humidified storage. They don't even want them delivered."

He is unconcerned about the credit crunch, saying many wealthy people now choose to put their money into so-called "passion investments" because they are safer than the stock market.

Expensive editions

*The New York Book

16kg silk-bound volume published by Gloria Books on the history, architecture and cultural life of the financial hub of New York. Most expensive edition costs £7,600, cheapest £1,200.

*Pelé

A 12kg tome on the Brazilian footballer was released in 2006. The 150 copies, which cost £4,000 and are signed by all surviving members of the 1970 World Cup-winning team, sold out in days. Copies were selling last year for £10,000.

*Manchester United Opus

The leather-bound book sold initially for £3,000 each. Last year, the 777th copy of the half-metre-squared book, signed by the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, sold for £1.6m at a charity auction.

*Dancing with the Bear – Roger Shashoua, 'Oligarch Edition'

Last year, the British entrepreneur offered a diamond-encrusted version of his book – a tale of how he made a fortune in post-Soviet Russia – for £3m.

Arts and Entertainment

Listen to his collaboration with Naughty Boy

music
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Craig in a scene from ‘Spectre’, released in the UK on 23 October

film
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap

film
Arts and Entertainment

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Jess Glynne is UK number 1

music

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Katie Brayben is nominated for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Carole King in Beautiful

film
Arts and Entertainment
Israeli-born actress Gal Gadot has been cast to play Wonder Woman
film
News
Top Gear presenter James May appears to be struggling with his new-found free time
people
Arts and Entertainment
Kendrick Lamar at the Made in America Festival in Los Angeles last summer
music
Arts and Entertainment
'Marley & Me' with Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jon Hamm (right) and John Slattery in the final series of Mad Men
tv
Arts and Entertainment
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Place Blanche, Paris, 1961, shot by Christer Strömholm
photographyHow the famous camera transformed photography for ever
Arts and Entertainment
The ‘Westmacott Athlete’
art
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
News
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
people
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

music
Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor