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Q: Size of Cookbook market in US ( Answered,   3 Comments )
Subject: Size of Cookbook market in US
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Books and Literature
Asked by: hac-ga
List Price: $125.00
Posted: 16 Oct 2002 06:33 PDT
Expires: 15 Nov 2002 05:33 PST
Question ID: 77242
What is the size (dollar volume)of the cookbook maket in the United States?
Who are the dominant cookbook publishers in the US by sales $ of cookbooks only?

Request for Question Clarification by claudietta-ga on 25 Oct 2002 00:01 PDT
Dear HAC,

I've been able to find the leading seven cookbook publishers, and I
believe they are in order of sales, but the citation does not specify
the sales.

I also found the market share of US cookbook sales (one cites what
Onminorous listed below and the other is different).

Let me know if you would like me to continue with this, or how 


Request for Question Clarification by claudietta-ga on 25 Oct 2002 00:02 PDT
...or how to satisfy your requests,


Clarification of Question by hac-ga on 25 Oct 2002 08:40 PDT
Claudietta--Yes please continue. It is important to have the sales
volume of the major cookbook publishers and the overall sales volume
of total cookbooks in the US. I'm familiar with BISG but don't find
their numbers very helpful

Request for Question Clarification by tox-ga on 12 Nov 2002 11:37 PST
I have a source that's willing to give the information but requires
that I fill out a form.  The only thing I need to get this data is the
reason why you want the information.  If you can provide that, I will
be faxed the numbers which I will post here.

Clarification of Question by hac-ga on 12 Nov 2002 12:24 PST
Claudietta, yes, please provide both numbers. Per the company that
requests to know the purpose of the information, it is for "marketing
share analysis".  Also, for the citationg for the leading 7 cookbook
publishers, please included the citation for where you found the info.

Subject: Re: Size of Cookbook market in US
Answered By: claudietta-ga on 12 Nov 2002 19:19 PST
Dear HAC,

According to the industry publications, the cookbook market ranged
from $42 million in 1994 to $78 in 2001, 4.1% and 3.5% of the total
book market.  In 1994 this figure equaled to 44.9 million books sold,
according to references listed below.

The leading publishers seem to be Random House, Alfred A. Knopf,
Crown/Clarkson Potter, HarperCollins, IDG Books, Doubleday and

                                 1999      2001     POINT CHANGE
General fiction                  6.4%     10.0%             +3.6
Mystery/thriller                13.8%     15.0%             +1.2
General nonfiction               0.9%      1.3%             +0.4
Religious                       13.0%     13.5%             +0.5
History                          2.3%      2.4%             +0.1
Biography/autobiography          3.1%      3.0%             -0.1
Cooking                          3.7%      3.5%             -0.2
Romance                         20.7%     20.0%             -0.7
Self-help                        5.2%      4.4%             -0.8
Science fiction                  6.5%      5.5%             -1.0
Business                         5.8%      4.2%             -1.6
[*] Numbers do not add to 100 because no all genres are listed.

"Sales of books to consumers last year totaled $22.4 billion, up from
$21.6 billion in 2000 and from $20.5 billion in 1999, according to
Book Industry Trends, an annual publication distributed by the Book
Industry Study Group in Matawan, N.J. Retail stores and online outlets
accounted for the largest share of 2001 sales--67 percent, or $15
billion. Direct-to-consumer outlets and book clubs captured another 20
percent of the market, or $4.5 billion, and non-textbook sales in
college bookstores claimed the remaining 13 percent of last year's
revenues, or $2.9 billion."

Source: American Demographics “Reader Request: By The Book; US
consumer book market size as retail sales in dollars for 1999 and
2000, with percent sales market share breakdown for each of 11
genres,” page 8+
July 2002

“US sales of mainstream cookbooks approached $42 mil in 1995, the last
year for which figures are available, or 4.1% of total book sales,
down $3 mil from the record in 1994, according to the American
Booksellers Association (Tarrytown, NY), which represents 4,300 retail
bookstores. “

Source: New York Times, “TOO Many Cooks, Yes, But Never Too Many
Cookbooks; US sales of mainstream cookbooks approach $42 mil in 1995,
4.1% of total book sales, down $3 mil from the record in 1994”, page
January 24, 1997


“According to the American Book Sellers Association, consumers
purchased 44.9 million cookbooks in 1994, up from 32 million in 1993.
(1995-96 figures were not available.) An association spokesman said
cookbooks have been "trending up" since 1992.”

Source: HFN, “ Cookbooks Serve Up Sales;
Consumers purchased 44.9 mil cookbooks in 1994 vs 32 mil in 1993”,
page 52
October 28, 1996
(projected thousands of adults who may purchase selected types of
books, by sex, 2008: and percent change, 1998-2008)
Legend for Chart:
A - men
B - percent change 1998-2008
C - women
D - percent change 1998-2008
                                 A         B         C         D
Any book                    42,336       5.8%   59,543       0.4%
Cookbook                     6,442      10.5    58,147      -1.8
Mystery                     11,813      42.9    15,001       1.0
Novel                       14,878      28.5    21,807      -3.7
Science fiction              5,575      -3.4     3,775      -0.6
Children's                   7,902       9.1    20,034       1.7
Romance                      2,559      -7.6    35,895      28.9
Self-help                    7,125      -1.6     8,097      -4.8
Religious                    5,601       9.6     8,894       2.9
Note: self-help includes business and personal topics; religious
excludes Bibles.


(projected thousands of adults who may buy at least one book a
year, by age and sex, 1998, 2005, and 2008, and percent change,
1998-2005 and 1998-2008)

                                    percent change  percent change
            1998     2005     2008    1998-2005        1998-2008

total      39,998   41,652   42,336      4.1%           5.8%
18 to 24    5,252    5,738    5,869      9.3           11.7
25 to 34    9,008    8,249    8,372     -8.4           -7.1
35 to 44    9,564    9,055    8,568     -5.3          -10.4
45 to 54    7,873    9,006    9,190     14.4           16.7
55 to 64    3,987    5,198    5,762     30.4           44.5
65 and
 older      4,315    4,407    4,576      2.1            6.0

total      58,306   58,824   59,543     -0.8%           0.4%
18 to 24    7,562    9,035    9,582     19.5           26.7
25 to 34   12,037   11,503   11,849     -4.4           -1.6
35 to 44   13,682    7,952    6,032    -41.9          -55.9
45 to 54   11,373   13,365   13,803     17.5           21.4
55 to 64    6,477    8,617    9,643     33.0           48.9
65 and
 older      8,175    8,352    8,633      2.2            5.6

Source: American Demographics, “Ready Readers, Reluctant Readers;
Consumer book sales fell 4% in 1997, according to the Association of
American Publishers, and mass-market paperback sales fell 8%; but
increasing education could reverse this fall,” page 8, May 1998

“Growth projected to be slower than in 2000   Projections released by
the Book Industry Study Group estimate that total book sales in 2001
will increase 3.2%, to $25.62 billion. If the forecast is right, the
sales growth in the year will be lower than the 4.5% gain posted in
2000. The association expects the sales increase to be fueled by price
increases as units are projected to dip 0.1%, to 2.49 billion.

Source: Publishers Weekly, “Book Sales Projected To Rise 3.2% in 2001;
US market size as dollar and unit sales for book publishers for 2000
and forecast for 2001, with breakdown for twelve segments”, page 9
June 18, 2001

“Digital Chef, Inc., dedicated to making cooking and shopping more
convenient for consumers and publisher of the Web site, today announced an agreement with leading
cookbook publishers Random House, Alfred A. Knopf, Crown/Clarkson
Potter, HarperCollins, IDG Books, Doubleday and Broadway that allows
consumers a new method for trying recipes from a cookbook before they
buy it.”
“The agreement makes Digital Chef the most comprehensive online source
for sampling cookbook recipes and represents a unique cooperative
effort between traditional "print" publishers and an "online"
publisher. "We are pleased to announce our relationship with the
country's leading cookbook publishers," said Digital Chef president
Kevin Appelbaum.”

Source: PR Newswire,   “Digital Chef Partners With Leading Publishers
to Provide Recipes From New and Existing Cookbooks Over the Internet;
Web Site's New Cookbook Showcase Allows Consumers to Sample Recipes
Before Buying Cookbooks” PR Newswire Association, Inc., December 19,

TOP 20 US Book Publishers (by sales)  [not all necessarily publish
Company Name, City, State, Sales (US$)
Thomson Licensing Corporation Claymont  Delaware  7,000.00 
Pearson Plc. (ADR) London  NA  6,083.71 
McGraw-Hill Companies New York  New York  4,645.54 
Pearson Education Upper Saddle River  New Jersey  2,619.76 
Scholastic Corporation New York  New York  1,917.00 
Primedia Inc. New York  New York  1,691.00 
Bertelsmann Inc. New York  New York  1,282.70 
Thomson Holdings Corporation Stamford  Connecticut  1,000.00 
Bertelsmann Inc. New York  New York  1,000.00 
West Group Rochester  New York  1,000.00 
Pearson Technology Group Indianapolis  Indiana  1,000.00 
HarperCollins Publishers Inc. New York  New York  975.50 
Addison Wesley Boston  Massachusetts  900.00 
Encyclopedia Britannica Inc Chicago  Illinois  750.00 
R R Donnelley Crawfordsville  Indiana  750.00 
Lifeway Christian Resources Nashville  Tennessee  750.00 
National Geographic Society Washington  District of Columbia  749.50 
John Wiley & Sons Hoboken  New Jersey  734.40 
Kalmbach Publishing Co. Waukesha  Wisconsin  512.00 
The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. / McGraw-Hill Higher Education
Division Burr Ridge  Illinois  500.0

Source: US Business Onsource 

Other cookbook publishers encountered in readings:
Crown Books Corp (Annual Sales: $299.5m)
Silverback Books 
Cucina Casalinga
KQED Books & Video
Perigee Books
International Masters Publs
Bristol Publishing
Aris books
Chronicle books
Search keywords
Cookbook publishers
Cooking books
Cookbook market share
Cookbook market size
Cookbook market industry study

Let me know if this satisfies your questions.  I would be willing to
help you get more information on the publishers given that I couldn’t
find the unit sales per publishers.  I did, by the way, look into the
SEC reports to look for these figures, and couldn’t find them there


Clarification of Answer by claudietta-ga on 12 Nov 2002 19:26 PST
...and by the way.  I did not find the 10% figure listed by Omnivorous
afterall.  I did see a 10% figure, but it stood for something
different, as you will read in one of the tables.  I apologize for
that.  However, I did supply two independent sources which calculated
the cookbook market at similar rates.


Request for Answer Clarification by hac-ga on 13 Nov 2002 11:10 PST
Hmmm. Very interesting. I'm a bit confused, however, because if the
total book market is around $20billion, then the 4.1% (or 3.5%) ought
to be in the neighborhood of $700million, not ($42million to
$78million) correct?

Another inconsistency is that if Americans purchased 40 million
cookbooks, based on the sales figures you uncovered of around
$78million, that would mean that the amount paid by the consumer per
book would average about $4 per book. Certainly that can't be correct.
Perhaps you could call the source and see if they can verify??

Clarification of Answer by claudietta-ga on 13 Nov 2002 12:41 PST
Yes, you are right. I'm off by a decimal point.  It should have read 

"According to the industry publications, the cookbook market ranged
from $420 million in 1994 to $780 million in 2001, 4.1% and 3.5% of
the total book market, respectively.  In 1994 this figure equaled to
44.9 million books sold, according to references listed below."

Did you get a chance to look at the supporting information?  I suppose
it should be apparent from that.  I calculated the amounts by the
given total book market and percentages.


Was there anything else?  I found quite a number of articles on this
sector, addressing trends.  However, the ones above were the only ones
that addressed the specific questions you were looking for.

Let me know, 
Subject: Re: Size of Cookbook market in US
From: omnivorous-ga on 17 Oct 2002 14:12 PDT
The cookbook market is about 10% of the total book market, which is
sized at $24.41 billion by the Book Industry Study Group.  There's
relatively little available on the Internet about this $2.4 billion

A suggestion would be to get a copy of BISG's "Book Industry Trends
2002" -- either directly from the website or from a university
business library near you.  The report is $100 for BISG members; $750
for non-members.

Best regards,

Subject: Re: Size of Cookbook market in US
From: hac-ga on 17 Oct 2002 15:11 PDT
I don't think this is correct. While the total size of the book market
is about $25b, the trade side is about 6.6b. This would mean that 1/3
of trade books sold would be cookbooks. Certainly that is not the
Subject: Re: Size of Cookbook market in US
From: omnivorous-ga on 17 Oct 2002 15:29 PDT
HAC --

I have old Book Industry Study Group numbers that put 1996 cook books
at 10.2% of the market, down from 10.9% five years earlier.

Best regards,


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