Most publishers seem to agree that, nowadays, specialty cookbooks are popular abroad, including gluten-free and vegan cooking titles.
Linda Kaplan, v-p and director of subsidiary rights for Crown, has seen trends ranging from an interest in “encyclopedic subject books,” such as titles by James Peterson (e.g., Cooking, Sauces, Splendid Soups), to Asian cooking titles. She cites Ivan Ramen by Ivan Orkin, Momofuku by David Chang, and Japanese Soul Cooking by Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat, as particularly popular examples of the latter.
Christina Frey, a sales manager also at Random House, agrees that branded authors like Martha Stewart and Ina Garten have international reach. She says classics like Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking sell well, as do spin-offs of popular titles and TV series, such as Fifty Shades of Chicken and Feast of Ice and Fire: The Official Game of Thrones Companion Cookbook. Frey notes that gluten-free, vegan, and paleo cookbooks also do well abroad, especially in the U.K.
Publicist Audrey Locorotondo says Taunton lists two titles—The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger, and Panini Express by Daniel Leader—that have both sold well since 2009.
Adam Salomone, associate publisher at Harvard Common Press, says, “There’s the most opportunity in European and Asian countries, though I can’t pinpoint areas of opportunity to specific countries because it varies.” Salomone says he’s seen an interest in “straightforward” cookbooks, such as barbecue, vegetarian, and vegan. Smoke & Spice, one of the publisher’s flagship titles, was licensed in a foreign-rights deal to Germany, and Vegan Planet was recently licensed in South Korea.
What doesn’t sell? Salomone says baking is a tough sell, in his experience, because it’s difficult to translate and “overly gimmicky, complicated.”