It is every media company’s primary goal to figure out a way to make money that isn’t reliant on ads. That’s why, over the last few years, numerous organizations have built out their various apps, services, and subscriptions. Lest we forget when, over a year ago, the New York Times put up a hard paywall on its Cooking website and app, which offered the newspaper’s years of recipe archives.
Now, the company is going further with a new customizable cookbook.
This new product allows anyone to build his or her own recipe book. People can choose seven chapters–ranging from “vegetable sides” to “sheet-pan wonders”–and then can choose eight recipes for each of those chapters. Once all the categories and dishes are chosen, the Times lets them write their own dedication page, and then, it’s off to the printing press. The newspaper says there are nearly 350,000 recipe-combination possibilities.
This isn’t the first personalized gift from the New York Times store. The company offers various birthday books that contain historic front pages or other archive reprints. But this isn’t the first customizable cookbook on the market, either. BuzzFeed, two years ago, launched a very similar product, which let people handpick their favorite Tasty recipes and then bundle them into a ring-bound book. These books did quite well, too. The company told Fast Company in 2016 that over 20,000 orders for the Tasty cookbook were made in the first week it was offered.
If you navigate to the Tasty store today, however, it seems those custom books are no longer available. Instead, people can buy a book on Amazon with pre-chosen recipes.
But it seems the Times wants to cash in on this idea, too. I will say that I would rather a book made up of Times recipes compared to Tasty‘s, but that’s just one man’s opinion. The books are available in both soft and hardcover, going for $35 and $55, respectively.