Grannies and Cooking

Today on several blogs I read about another book for Charity called Our Grannies Recipes.

Our Grannies’ Recipes is a production of Mercier Press Ltd. ( They have opened a website especially for this production and describe it as:

A site that gathers together the recipes that have been favourites of Irish families for generations. Using the recipes posted on the site, Mercier Press will publish a book called Our Grannies’ Recipes in October 2008 as a hardback priced at €14.99. For every copy sold Mercier will donate a royalty to Age Action Ireland

I almost posted a recipe, but then stopped to think a little more about it!

Mercier Press publishes books as a business, right? If I went to them to publish a book they would have reams of regulations about my or their rights to the final publication. ‘Money’ would play a Big part in the discussion e.g. how much minimum I might expect for say 100 copies sold, or 1,000 copies or even 10,000 copies and how many copies per print run. The cut that Mercier Press required would also be mentioned I am sure.

At this stage of the proceedings for ‘Our Grannies Recipes’ I am sure that within Mercier Press all the money issues have been sorted, particularly the %-age for the Charity chosen. Note I said %, now is it O%, 1%, 51% or 99% I wonder?

Before I contribute to any charity I like to know how much ACTUALLY goes to the charity and how much is spent on Administration.

When this is made clear I will reconsider whether or not to contribute!

What do you think?


Thank you Eoin for your speedy reply on behalf of Mercier Press to my blog post and the comment I made on your site.

Please see comments below for the update.


13 thoughts on “Grannies and Cooking

  1. Hello Grannymar,
    Thanks for the comment.

    I’m sorry you felt that Mercier hadn’t been up front.

    We have been discussing this internally over the last few days.

    We decided to go live without saying the exact figure but we are considering putting the exact figure up early next week, following feedback from a few people (including yourself). One of our concerns was that it may seem a but low but there again in retrospect it gives us an opportunity to discuss why it couldn’t be more.

    For the record, the figure is set in stone (€1 a copy) and won’t change! As for admin, the site costs Mercier nothing per se except the cost of the domain name and traffic/bandwidth costs.

    The RRP is €14.99 and average discount is between 50 and 60% for trade books. That leaves a Mercier income of between €7.50 and €5.99. Regardless of the discount we will contribute €1 directly to Age Action for each copy sold.

    As with all our books we cover production (everything from editing proofing, designing to printing, binding), distribution, publicity, staff costs, company overheads and everything else associated with the book and its publication.

    We will if all goes well make a modest profit from the book. I should stress that the chief goal behind donating to a charity was to ensure that people did not feel we were using their content for free for commercial gain at no expense to us. I am anxious to involve people in the process and it seems to me that that should involve some recognition of the input and its value.

    Thanks for your interest by the way! I hope we will see your recipe on the site soon. Let me know if you have any other queries.


    I can be reached here:
    Eoin Purcell
    Commissioning Editor
    Mercier Press
    Douglas Village
    Tel: +353 21 489 0621
    Fax: +353 21 489 9887

  2. Thank you Eoin for your speedy reply and explaination on behalf of Mercier Press to my blog post and the comment I made on your site.

    Sometimes people think the thoughts I express, but whinge quietly rather than confronting them. I thought by commenting on the blog it might raise a healthy discussion and also give you the chance to clarify the situation.

    I have several recipes that may well be suitable, and hopefully with time to think it over I might add one to the list.

    I have had involvement with several charities over the years on a voluntary basis and withdrew from one when I discovered the high %-age that actually went on administration and saw the waste of good funds.

    I think that my pet hate is where large department stores/supermarket groups, sell Christmas Cards supposedly for Charity, sometimes lumping half a dozen causes on the cards making it impossible to contribute any significant amount to any of the causes advertised.

    Once again thank you for the speed of your reply it shows that you are ready to watch, listen and explain!

  3. I think this is a great idea for a book and I will hopefully find something to contribute. I didn’t have the same thoughts about the donation amount, and in fairness I don’t think Mercier are doing anything different from any books with a public contribution and charity element.

    I can think back to the book promoted by Ray d’Arcy “Us” – all anyone was told about the charity element was that all of the profits from the sale would be donated to Childline, but there was no actual figure. Just for pig iron I took a look at the website of the Irish Hospice Foundation book “Lifestory” and there is no mention there of how much goes to the hospice foundation.

    If a charity is worthwhile, I will donate to it.Yeah, maybe I should know my facts and figures about how much is spent on admin etc. but it’s not an ideal world and I’m pretty sure the majority of Irish Charities are all out there doing a decent job.

    I don’t know a whole lot about Age Action, but I’m going to find out more following this thread. Raising awareness of a charity through the book will, no doubt, yield dividends far beyond the donation per copy amount given by Mercier.

    Sorry, I don’t know you and haven’t visited this blog before (only linked through via Damien Mulley’s site), but I think you are coming across a bit high and mighty about the whole thing really.


  4. Dorothy, thank you for your input. It is only by asking that we can suss out the wheat from the chaff!

  5. Welcome Alan, abook is a good idea and I have come across several books of this kind in the past. They were mostly produced by church groups and I have a couple that were printed and sold for Northern Ireland Hospice Care.

    As you will see from Eoin’s first comment that I was not the only person to ask this question.

    I have made you think and comment, and hopefully others will also. We need to be aware where our hard earned money and talents are used. I apologise if I came over as a bit high and mighty, it was not my intention to do so.

  6. I think you were right to ask the question and that certainly was a very quick response, maybe they were expecting the question! The concept of the book is interesting and there must be many recipes that have been handed down through families. I’m sure it will prove to be popular!

  7. An interesting debate, Grannymar

    Thank you for raising the question and making us all think a bit more about where we donate our hard-earned money.

    High and mighty is definitely not something I would associate with you, Grannymar and I feel your reply to Alan reflects your true admirable qualities.

    I salute both you and Alan for each taking the stance that you did. I suspect that the different viewpoints are most likely purely a generational thing as it’s obvious to me that you both wear your hearts in the right place.

    As a regular reader of Grannymar’s words of wisdom and wit, I can assure Alan that this site contains something very, very special which cannot be bought or sold but is free to anyone who takes the time to enjoy.

    I suppose, Grannymar, it could be said that you pack a mighty punch with your words 😀

  8. Chris ~ we should all be ready to ask questions. Any decent reputable company is not afraid to answer them. Eoin was very prompt with the answers. Mind you €1 per copy seems light in my opinion, what is it in our money, about 72pence at the moment I think!

    Steph ~ You make me blush! I do not wish to come over as high and mighty, the only thing high about me is the chair I sit on! As for the mighty… well I might do this or I might do that! 😉

  9. Hello Grannymar,

    I think the problem might arise from a small misapprehension. The goal of the donation is not to highlight the Charitable nature of the book but rather to ensure that contributors feel that their contributions are being acknowledged in some way. I think I might have made this clearer in the introductionary post.

    As for the amount, it is more than our regular author royalty which is based on a 10% of Net Receipts figure and thus fluctuates depending on the discount we give to retailers. For a title at this price ti would range from around 75cent to about 90cent.

    Hope that clears it up it a little more!
    All the best

  10. Thank you again Eoin for the prompt reply and explaination. I am not out to cause a problem for you or the book, only to make people think! Now I need to go look at my recipes and find something suitable.

  11. Grannymar,

    I completely understand. My view is that if there are questions we should answer them truthfully. If people still don’t like the answer, that’s fine. Everybody has a differnt take and if we didn’t the world would be very dull!

    As I say, I look forward to seeing recipes!


  12. Eoin, I is good we are all different. This world would not cope with two Grannymar’s!

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