Cookbook sales continue to climb

Good news for cookbook lovers - despite concerns that we might have achieved 'peak cookbook', sales of cookbooks are still going strong. Sales are up 25% over last year, with offerings from big names like Ina Garten and Yotam Ottolenghi boosting sales. As popular as those authors are, they are not solely responsible for the uptick in sales. According to Allison Risbridger, a book industry analyst, two other big trends also contributed to increased sales.

One is a renewed interest in health and wellness, and the other is booming home goods industry, of which cooking is a part. Although it's difficult to quantify, Risbridger also believes that consumer sentiment plays a role. "You know, politics and also just the world in the news," she said. "It's a scary place right now and people are attracted to the comfort of their own home."

open books

Pundits often say that cookbook sales are robust despite apps and online content, but I posit that the apps and websites are not competitions, but rather they encourage people to purchase books. Social media is filled with "aspirational" blogs and websites. But unlike video bloggers who traipse about in countries we can't afford to visit, or decorating sites featuring astronomically priced furniture, gorgeous food we see on Instagram is within our reach, and the cookbooks that guide us in making those dishes are eminently affordable. 

Increased cookbook sales are not the only success story in the world of recipes. Even though many people were disappointed when NYT Cooking began charging a subscription for access to the site's recipes, the number of subscribers they are racking up is impressive. The success of the service is due to the hard work and savvy of the Cooking staff, who developed a product that people feel is worth the monthly fee. They started with a large base of well-tested and well-loved recipes, but it didn't hurt that people have become accustomed to this type of monthly payment through streaming services such as Netflix.

NYT Cooking is not content to rest on its laurels. Editor Sam Sifton says they plan on enhancing their video content. To that end, this year they have hired two new staff members, both of whom used to work at Tasty, the division of BuzzFeed made popular by its overhead view cooking videos.

3 Comments

  • vickster  on  11/29/2018 at 7:09 AM

    I think I have a lot to do with this!

  • Rinshin  on  11/29/2018 at 3:21 PM

    Me too, but now most of my English language cookbbooks are kindle. Really try to stay away from regular cookbooks unless the books are not in kindle format and I really want them.

  • TrishaCP  on  12/16/2018 at 5:53 AM

    Ha ha ha ha Vicky! (And I am right there beside you.)

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