Ina Garten Stopped Doing Book Signings Because of Selfies

Ina Garten is a Food Network star. She’s hosted her award-winning cooking show, Barefoot Contessa, since 2002. Not only that but she’s also a cookbook author.

Ina Garten poses with one of her cookbooks at Food Network's rooftop birthday party
Ina Garten at Food Network’s rooftop birthday party | Noam Galai/Getty Images for NYCWFF

Garten a.k.a. the Barefoot Contessa, has been creating and testing recipes for over 20 years. But in recent years the 72-year-old has switched up how she promotes her cookbooks. Why? Because of fans taking selfies at book signings. 

She released her first Barefoot Contessa cookbook in 1999

Garten’s first cookbook hit shelves in April 1999. She put together a collection of recipes she’d spent years cooking at Barefoot Contessa, the grocery store she owned in East Hampton, New York, before selling it to employees.

Wondering what to do after selling her business, Garten decided to write a cookbook. She thought she’d write a book while figuring out her next move. But when The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook was released it became a major success.

The cookbook featured simple recipes that have become Garten’s signature. Also included in the book was a foreword written by fellow Hamptons resident Martha Stewart. 

Ina Garten speaks to a fan while signing one of her cookbooks
Ina Garten at a book signing in 1999 | Robert Lachman/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

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Because of the strong sales of her first book, Garten’s publisher asked her to write a second cookbook and so began her career as an author. Her follow-up cookbook, Barefoot Contessa Parties! Ideas and Recipes for Easy Parties That Are Really Fun, debuted in 2001. Since then Garten’s released a new cookbook every two years. 

Ina Garten stopped doing book signings because fans wouldn’t talk to her

Part of being a cookbook author is promoting the release of a new book which traditionally means a book signing. Garten held book signings for her debut cookbook and hasn’t stopped until recently. 

She told Buzzfeed News in 2016 she stopped doing signings because people would wait hours in line for just a few seconds with her. Then when they’d finally get to meet her, they’d spend that precious time taking a selfie. 

“And the second thing that happened is in that 15 seconds they were turned around to take a selfie. They didn’t even have a conversation with me,” Garten said. 

Now she has a new way of doing book signings. She sits down for a 60-minute interview — sometimes with a celebrity friend leading the conversation — and 30 minutes of questions posed by the audience. Meanwhile, there are pre-signed books for sale.  

RELATED: Ina Garten Reveals the Store-Bought Noodles She Uses for a ‘Fresh Pasta but Better’ Taste

She’s now the author of 12 Barefoot Contessa cookbooks

Garten started writing cookbooks in the ‘90s and hasn’t stopped. She’s now the author of a dozen cookbooks and counting. 

Her latest, Modern Comfort Food: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, debuted in October 2020 after moving the release date up because of the coronavirus and the presidential election. Garten’s now on a virtual book tour. 

She also keeps up with fans on Instagram and has gone viral multiple times because of her posts. First was the video of her drinking a massive cocktail and later the photo of Garten’s dishwasher that inspired a conversation on the internet. 

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