Digital and Print: Let’s See What’s Cooking…

Publisher’s Weekly recently convened a panel of digital and traditional publishers for “The Digital Kitchen:  Adapting Cookbooks in the App Age.”  The panel was hosted by Mark Rotella, who is the editor of PW’s Cooking the Books newsletter

With the electronic/digital revolution well underway, one area that has become a battlefield of sorts for two opposing thought processes is in the publishing pantheon of cookbooks.  Recipes have been an area that is conducive to extremes in competition because a recipe is not something that can be legally copyrighted under current statutes.  This gives publishers the ability to package and re-package recipes in any format they deem profitable.  Having an endless treasure trove of recipes means the ability to reach a mass-market audience is assured for continued and immediate revenue growth potential.

As stated in the post, an Ipad is great to have when looking up an idea for an ingredient that one has in the refrigerator.  Unfortunately, the difference in price structure makes a print book that much more important in the kitchen when the ingredients start to fly in the cooking process.  There would be nothing worse than getting Gazpaicho on your Ipad.  I could be mistaken but I do not think Apple has customer support that would even help out with a Kitchen-based emergency on a portable device.  The print version would be a much better variant to have handy AFTER you have found the recipe quickly on the Ipad.  Since many recipes are often slightly different, the chances are high that the Ipad recipe and the print version would not be exact, but if using Buttermilk as stated in the article is the main goal, you probably won’t mind the differences anyway.

Since cooking is akin to taking your Ipad or Smartphone to a sandy beach, the question remains this:  Are you willing to take the chance during the chemistry process of mixing and splattering your Ipad/Smartphone with various culinary liquids (a $400-$600+ risk), or is a $25 print title a good investment for the actual construction of the creation?

With 4% sales growth in the cookbook market, the future looks bright for these publishers in every format they produce.  Good news for the print-side of cookbooks was reported by Doris Cooper, VP Editorial at Clarkson Potter and Potter Style, when she related that no cookbook e-book has outsold its print counterpart.  Guy Fieri should be very happy!


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