Publisher Penguin pulls the plug on its Australian cookbook imprint

Lantern cookbooksPenguin Random House's Lantern imprint has published top selling cookbooks from a veritable Who's Who of Australian food writers and chefs from David Thompson to Kylie Kwong. Despite the success of books like Stephanie Alexander's The Cook's Companion, Penguin announced that it is shutting down the Lantern cookbook division in 2016.

Lantern was created by Julie Gibbs, its publishing director, just over ten years ago. Gibbs will depart at the end of this year. The imprint was known for its opulent design that won many international awards. CEO Gabrielle Coyne said the changing retail environment is to blame for Lantern's demise. "The prevailing market conditions mean there is no longer the retail footprint there once was to support the number of illustrated books in our future 2016 and 2017 programme," she said.

The publisher was also embroiled in controversy over author Belle Gibson's cookbook, The Whole Pantry. Earlier this year, details about Gibson falsifying her illness emerged, causing the publisher to pull the book. Lantern's demise signals the "end of the golden era" for cookbook publishers. 

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