What sells in summer?

Every so often I have a look at the bestseller lists for cookbooks.  It keeps me honest–if the books people are buying aren’t the books that I’m recommending, I should know why, even if that doesn’t change my opinion about the books themselves.

If you asked me what sells in summer, I’d probably say: eat-local books, grill books, ice cream books, seafood books.  And I’d be partly right.  But if you look closely at the Amazon bestseller list in Cooking, Food & Wine, this year’s trends tell a slightly different story:

Book Image

Celebrities: Yep, it’s a booming market if you’re a TV personality, like Guy Fieri or Theresa Giudice.  These books may not consistently inspire, delight, and instruct (the marks of a great cookbook) but wow. They do fly off the shelves.  You can also sell a lot of cookbooks if you’re Gwyneth Paltrow.

Men: “Man with a Pan,” “Eat Like a Man”–sound familiar? Audience-based cookbooks are doing really well, especially if you’re a man.  The battle of the sexes may have been won on other fronts, but it’s definitely still on in the kitchen.

Bloggers: Well, one blogger, namely Ree Drummond–a one-woman cookbook marketing machine.

Tell-alls & memoirs:  Gritty chef stories like Gabrielle Hamilton’s rule the genre, along with macho, exposé style books like Anthony Bourdain’s (see “Men,” above).

DIY: Canning and preserving. People can’t seem to get enough of these, even though I don’t spot much of a difference between any of the dozens of canning books.  Also beer (see “Men,” above).

Grills and frozen stuff:    I was right about this much–people are buying ice cream books, and, in a twist this year, popsicle books.  As for grills–well, not to repeat myself, but: see “Men,” above.

I really am perplexed not to see more fish and seafood books among the top contenders.  There are so many good ones!  Any theories as to why?

What can we conclude from scrutinizing this list?  Well, it’s not science, but here’s one guess: Men buy cookbooks in the summer.  What do you think, guys?  Am I right?  I sure would love to know!

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