Cookbooks, that were once a niche segment, have taken the publishing world by storm. Visitors to the world's biggest book fair, Frankfurt Book Fair, found a Gourmet Gallery dedicated exclusively to cooking, with recipe books on display from all over the world.
Edouard Cointreau, president of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, said, "Twenty years ago, cookbooks were hidden, cookbooks were not respected. You had to be specialist and if you were specialized, you never went very far in a big publishing house. But nowadays people need comfort in a world that has become more and more difficult with crises. And cookbooks are one of the ways to be happy. Cookbooks are to dream, to feel good, to travel."
There were books ranging from Russian specialties and Indonesian dishes to the secrets of celebrated French cuisine maestro Alain Ducasse. Particularly in vogue are books on healthy eating, on vegetarian and vegan cooking and recipes for kale dishes or green smoothies. Among the other trends, manuals on increasingly specific themes, such as cupcakes, regional cuisine are gaining popularity. Special cookbooks for children and self-published books are seen in the market.
Pixie Shields, international rights director at Marabout (Hachette Livre), one of the big players in the sector, said, "Statistically, people cook between one and three recipes from a book. People tend to pick up brightly presented books, full of photos, which they can show off in their kitchen and leaf through occasionally."
Cointreau said, "The annual market for cookbooks is estimated at around $6 billion and is growing at between 3-5%, with television programs the prime growth driver. The market is also still very much for printed rather than electronic books. But growth can vary from country to country. In France, for example, the market appears to be running out of steam, at least for now."
Specialist magazine Livres Hebdo said, "Around 1,760 new cookbooks or new editions appeared in 2014, which represented a stagnation compared with previous year, after the segment had notched up consistent growth between 2006 and 2012. In Germany, books on food and drink make up around 28% of sales of what are generally classified as guide or instruction books. But that proportion has also remained unchanged for the past two years, after growing consistently in the preceding years."