Coffee table books for the holidays

December 1, 2011 11:25:37 AM PST
It is sort of a universal truth.

"Books are pretty much essential to life. I think," Michael Jacobs, Abrams Books CEO, said.

Even in this booming age of technology, books still hold up.

"We're pretty proud of the fact that we still make these beautiful physical objects that reflect a lot about the people who buy and give them and about the people who get them," Jacobs said.

So this holiday season, we take a look at some of the most captivating coffee table books published by Abrams.

"Wimpy Kid is sort of our secret sauce in some ways," Jacobs said.

To the tune of 1 million. That's how many copies of Cabin Fever sold during its first week out of the gate in mid-November.

Children's books, Michael says, always do well.

"Even when times are hard, I think even people who are heavy book buyers or book users will forgo that purchase for themselves but still buy that book for the kids, grandkids, nieces or nephews," he said.

Other big sellers, anything to do with fashion and cooking like the third and final work by Alton Brown.

Another one celebrates Oprah Winfrey, one of the most influential people in pop culture in the last quarter century.

"We felt like we weren't going to just do a big glossy book about a celebrity, we felt we were doing a book that was about her legacy and a keepsake for the millions of people who are her fans and the millions of women who saw her as the great empowering figure in their lives," Jacobs said.

Another must get is this moving tribute to George Harrison. It's the companion book to the recent documentary by Martin Scorsese.

Part of the charm of these larger than life books is that they have a certain flow. By design, they aren't necessarily a linear experience, rather a journey that allows you to dip in and out.

"It's a combination of text, photography, illustrations and clearly design, design is integral to the book," he said.