Cookbooks and the Publishing Industry

Cookbook sales have been remarkably strong this century, avoiding the general decline that has troubled much of the publishing industry. According to Nielsen BookScan, for example, sales rose more than 4% from 2009 to 2010, compared with industrywide book sales, which declined 4.5% during the same period. Among the spate of cookbooks published within the past 5 years, a few remarkable trends that stand out will be the focus of the following entry—namely, publishers are investing in avant-garde cookbooks, high-end publications by celebrity chefs, experimental cross-media productions, and foreign rights and international sales. In addition, a surprising number of authors are attaining success by self-publishing.

Publishers have been eager to capitalize on the surge in cookbook sales as well as on the fact that a ...

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