Andrews McMeel's Strategy: Building 'Bench Depth'
In addition to unique, quality content, strategic partnerships have been key to the line's success. One profitable partnership has been with high-end cooking-supplies retailer Sur La Table. "'Things Cooks Love,' published in the spring 2008, was the first cookbook in our publishing program with Sur La Table, and was an IACP [International Association of Culinary Professionals] Award finalist. Our second Sur La Table title, 'The Art and Soul of Baking,' was a James Beard nominee and IACP winner this year," says Melville.
In all, the company has published five Sur La Table titles. And, this spring, the company will release a sixth, "Eating Local: A Cookbook Inspired by America's Farmers," which Melville explains "highlights local CSAs [community-supported agriculture] and celebrates the farm-to-table initiative that the nation has enthusiastically embraced."
Later this year, Andrews McMeel is launching two additional partnership-based titles: "Bon Appetit Desserts," featuring hundreds of recipes from Bon Appetit magazine's archives along with new recipes, and a new cookbook in partnership with Foodista, an online cooking encyclopedia.
Such partnerships not only build revenue from cookbook sales, but, says Melville, the success of the cookbook program also has "enabled us to attract and develop relationships with some of the nation's top food bloggers—exceptional writers of passion and great influence," which, in turn, helps to develop future profitable relationships.
"Successful, enduring relationships have been at the core of AMP's success," says Andrews.
The vitality of Andrews McMeel's cookbook program also may be partially due to the fact that it reflects another of the company's strengths: its gift books. "AMP has always excelled at gift publishing. I saw cookbooks as a different type of gift book that complemented our traditional strengths," Melville says.
And, like most gift books, they reach a wide swathe of the consumer marketplace. "Cookbooks can be sold in multiple markets to difference niches and communities," she notes.