For 34 years, Jessica’s Biscuit®/ecookbooks.com has been America’s Cookbook Store™, offering 20%-75% off everyday on over 18,000 titles.
Jessica's Biscuit®/ecookbooks.com is not about biscuits. It is about cookbooks--thousands of them--from every corner of the world and every cuisine under the sun, from basic to gourmet, from bestsellers, to hard-to-find titles, to out-of-print classics. And all at substantial savings--up to 75% discounts, every day.
While other similar companies have come and gone, Jessica's Biscuit® remains. The approach is simple: offer the world's most comprehensive collection of cookbooks with unparalleled service at the lowest prices. If it's a cookbook and it's in print, chances are Jessica's has it, or can get it. If its not in print, Jessica's will go out of its way to find it or to make it available, that is, if it doesn't have it already.
The cookbooks by mail concept that brought about Jessica's Biscuit® began as a brainstorm 34 years ago in the living room of David Strymish's Newton, Massachusetts home. That first idea sparked what is now the nation's leading, most comprehensive and successful mail-order/internet cookbook source. Jessica's Biscuit® is still located in Newton, Massachusetts, though not in a living room.
In 1980, David Strymish and Mark Landau (who now works in publishing for HarperCollins Publishers) took the first step in creating Jessica's Biscuit® when they placed a small advertisement in Gourmet Magazine: a single ad, offering a single cookbook. The effort yielded seven orders, and though it was not an overwhelming response, something told them to continue. They photocopied 20 black and white catalogs and included one in each order they mailed out. They received five reorders, and pushed forward.
Not long after that, Jessica's moved out of the living room and into two tiny rooms in the back of the New England Mobile Book Fair®, the family independent bookstore and book business started by David's father in 1957. During the early 1980's Jessica's staffed two customer service people, a writer and a designer. Orders were packed and mailed out by David himself. Today the company has a full-time staff of twenty, a warehouse bulging at the seams, and hope for the future. Sometimes, David still picks and packs orders. In fact, if you call Jessica's Biscuit® to ask a question or to order books there is a good chance you will speak to David, as he still answers customer phone calls for at least a few hours each day. The original customer base of five has grown to tens of thousands of satisfied customers, most of whom receive Jessica's regular email newsletters (you may sign up at ecookbooks.com) along with 24 hour access to the ecookbooks.com website.
Jessica's Biscuit® takes its cookbooks seriously. Fourteen years ago, when David Strymish realized that one of the most important bread-baking books was no longer available, he arranged to reprint it. Biscuit Books™--a sister company of Jessica's Biscuit®/ecookbooks.com™--made its publishing debut by printing a beautiful new edition of Elizabeth David's English Bread and Yeast Cookery followed by Elizabeth David Classics. In the years following, Biscuit Books™ has released eight more titles--all much-loved but out-of-print classics. Says David, "These authors are researchers who bring us history. One of the things we do is to preserve and to perpetuate heritage."
In some ways, it is no surprise that David Strymish found his way into the world of cookbooks--books were in his blood. In the 1950's his father, Louis Strymish, created the New England Mobile Book Fair®, an amazing 35,000 square foot single-store warehouse offering discounts on new and remaindered books of every type. Louis was a visionary and a bookselling legend. In a seemingly disorganized warehouse, he could locate and identify any book, much the way David can with cookbooks. David recalls how his dad enthusiastically encouraged him from the very inception of Jessica's Biscuit®, projecting that "One day you'll get 100 orders!"
What has remained unchanged throughout the years of significant growth is the philosophy and culture of the company. The staff, past and present, shares a reverence for cookbooks, a delight in quality writing and an unwavering commitment to customer service. Conceived informally and spontaneously, named at the spur of the moment after the founders' two dogs, Jessica and Biscuit, the company has retained its friendly and low-key approach while at the same time evolving into a viable business and the leading mail-order/internet cookbook company in the United States. The goal of Jessica's Biscuit®/ecookbooks.com™ remains to keep the cookbook classics alive by providing them to new readers, while at the same time offering new classics-in-the-making at the best prices and with unparalleled customer service.