RACHEL BELLE

Digital shmigital: Cookbook sales are up 25 percent

Dec 18, 2018, 6:01 PM | Updated: Dec 19, 2018, 9:41 am
cookbook...
Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

I love cookbooks. I like to take them to bed and read them like novels. I like to roll around in the fantasy that I’ll cook all of the dishes captured in the glossy, perfectly styled photographs. I may never make a single dish from a cookbook, but I love the book just the same. And I am clearly not the only one. Cookbook sales were up 25 percent this year, according to the research group NPD.

“We had our single biggest month in seven years in October. We’re having our best year that we’ve had so far,” said Lara Hamilton, owner of Book Larder, an all-cookbook store in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood.

Jenny Abrami is the sales director for Sasquatch Books, which publishes a lot of cookbooks from northwest authors.

“I think, generally, some of that growth is celebrity driven. It was a really big year for Ina [Garten] and Reese Witherspoon had a really great cookbook.”

Supermodel Chrissy Teigen put out a highly anticipated book, as did London based, Israeli born, celebrity chef Yotam Ottolenghi.

Even though there are millions of recipes available online for free, people still want to own a cookbook. Beyond the aesthetics, it’s safer to spill splotches of homemade marinara on a page than a tablet.

“If you just want to get straight information for a recipe, you can just download that from the Internet,” Abrami said. “But cookbooks are such a pleasurable thing and we think so carefully about our design. For me, online is great for getting work done and getting information quickly but if you really want to have an enjoyable experience, I feel like the cookbook is a much more pleasurable way to spend time and think about food. Especially if you’re like many of us and you’ve been staring at a screen all day. People like to display them in their kitchens. Some people use them as coffee table books.”

A modern cookbook era

Cookbooks are different than they used to be. They have personality. Authors usually include a story with each recipe, the photography is gorgeous and there is something for everybody.

“I think that this trend back towards home cooking is welcome,”Hamilton said. “When the store first opened, the big books that everybody talked about tended to be very cheffy coffee table books. And the ones that really get a lot of buzz now, and that people are really buying in greater numbers, are these ones that are really geared toward people who want to put a good meal on the table.”

She says Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” remains a very popular book.

“The hardcover outsells the paperback hands down. Because that’s just something people feel they have to own or they really want to give to someone as a gift and share. Recently it’s been books like Joshua McFadden’s ‘Six Seasons,’ Samin Nosrat’s ‘Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat’ Melissa Clark’s ‘Dinner’ and I think all three of them are establishing themselves as classics.”

Persian, middle eastern and vegetarian books are also selling well and Hamilton says they have a lot of new books exploring Filipino cuisine.

“‘Avocado a Day’ is currently one of our best selling cookbooks,” Abrami said, who says they strive to make beautiful, but affordable books that sell for $19.95. “It’s single subject, all about avocados.”

Book Larder has very smartly positioned itself as more than just a book store. They teach cooking classes and host author events featuring some of the world’s most popular cookbook authors and food personalities. This brings more people into the store and, in turn, sells more books.

  • listen to rachel belleTune in to KIRO Radio on weekdays to hear Rachel Belle.
Who is Rachel Belle?

Your Last Meal

Rachel Belle

Nadiya Hussain...
Rachel Belle

New ‘Your Last Meal’: British Bake Off winner, Spice Waala brings Indian street food to Seattle

As a child, Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain, felt frustrated that her dad served watered down, westernized Indian food at his restaurants.
5 days ago
Toxic positivity...
Rachel Belle

Seattle psychotherapist on how to cope with ‘season of toxic positivity’

Telling your loved ones to look on the bright side when they're feeling down is toxic positivity, and no one likes to hear it. Not even you.
12 days ago
birthday cake...
Rachel Belle

‘Your Last Meal’ podcast explores history of why we eat cake and light candles for birthdays

We all eat birthday cake, but have you ever wondered why? Award-winning chef Christina Tosi dives in on the latest episode of "Your Last Meal."
18 days ago
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is not holding a fluffernutter in this photo, but he is holdi...
MyNorthwest Staff

Dave Ross, Rachel Belle on how ‘fluffernutter’ made it into the dictionary

Fluffernutter is now in the dictionary. KIRO Radio's Dave Ross and Rachel Belle discuss that and the other new words (and phrases) that made the cut.
19 days ago
Caspar Babypants...
Rachel Belle

Seattle rocker Chris Ballew is retiring Caspar Babypants, moving on from kids’ music

After 19 albums and 13 years as Caspar Babypants, Seattle's Chris Ballew is moving on to yet another a new musical project.
20 days ago
Seattle, anxiety...
MyNorthwest Staff

KIRO Radio hosts attempt to solve Seattle’s anxiety problem

A new study out of the U.S. Census Bureau has found that Seattle is ranked as the most anxious metro area in the country. KIRO Radio weighs in.
22 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
...

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]
...

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
...

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Digital shmigital: Cookbook sales are up 25 percent