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E-Cookbooks: An analysis of profitability

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Appetite by Random House is a lifestyle publishing house imprint, within the parent company of Penguin Random House (PRH) Canada, specializing in the publication of cookbooks. Under corporate policy, Appetite produces digital versions of all of its published titles; however, cursory analysis of Appetite’s digital cookbook (e-cookbook) sales reveals low sales volume calling into question the profitability of this universal conversion policy. This report utilizes data collected and stored in the PRH internal database, MyHouse, to perform a series of quantitative data analyses focused on Appetite’s e-cookbook sales and with the intent of answering the core research question: is the return on investment (ROI) for converting titles into digital versions positive for all cookbooks? Results indicate that while individual sales volume and ROIs vary from title to title, overall net sales, when totaled across Appetite’s published e-cookbooks, are sufficient to yield a positive ROI. Preliminary analyses of possible variables impacting sales volume and thereby ROI are included. Further, comparative analyses are performed using data from a sample of PRH imprints that also publish digital cookbooks with results indicating that Appetite’s ROI for digital cookbook production is lower than the sampled average.
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