Cookbooks have proven throughout the last 50 years
to be much more than a collection of recipes. Cookbooks are a public relations
tool, a contribution to local history, and an important documentation of a
nation's heritage. They are a collector's item, a family's memoir, and a way of
maintaining our sense of identity. Their popularity as a viable product has
continued to increase along with the quality of the recipes, the design, and
the creativity of self-publishers.
A recent publishing article suggests that the cookbook market
will never be saturated because the public is
always looking for something new and for the best possible way to make food
taste great. And with more cookbooks featuring color photography and
interesting sidebar information, cookbooks are
leaving the kitchen and finding a home on the coffee table.
Jen Haller, director of book purchasing for Joseph-Beth Booksellers says, “Most
cookbook buyers are referred to as ‘armchair' cooks. They don't have time to
cook but love to read about cooking and to collect beautiful cookbooks.”
Food and cooking are a part of everyday life, making cookbooks
a staple in the American home . Even in a weak
economy, cookbook sales stay strong. Rux Martin, executive editor for Houghton
Mifflin says, “...this wouldn't be the first time that a down economy is good
for cookbooks. People are staying home and cooking,”
(Publisher's Weekly, July 28, 2003).
Whether cookbooks are purchased for reading material or to guide meal
preparation, it is evident that they do continue to sell year after year. An
article in the April 23, 2003, edition of USA Today probably sums it
up best—“We live in a cookbook-crazy culture.”
- 80% of cookbooks are sold by word of mouth.
- Cookbooks generated $159 million in 2006, according to Simba Information, an increase of 5.1% over 2005 and 20% over 2002. (Publisher's Weekly, September 10, 2007)
- Retailers sold 14.9 million cooking-related books in 2006, a 9 percent increase from the previous year, according to Nielsen BookScan. (The Kansas City Star, September 11, 2007)
- The third best-selling book in the world is the Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook, ranking only behind the Bible and the dictionary in sales. (1001 Ways to Market Your Books, by John Kremer)
- Several community/regional cookbooks have been published continually for over fifty years.
- The average American woman owns fifteen cookbooks, and three out of ten women collect cookbooks. (1001 Ways to Market Your Books, by John Kremer)
- Ninety-seven million people gave or received a book as a gift, and the most popular book category was cookbooks according to American Bookseller.
- The cookbook market has sustained a growth rate of 5% annually since 1984 ... due to strong sales in cookbooks compared to the book market in general. (Edouard Cointreau, Gourmand World Cookbook Awards - Trendwire, October 18, 2004)