LONDON SHOW DAILY 9 APRIL 2014 32
and Cookbook Authors”. I started to think
about how search could aid in the discovery
of recipes and, in turn, cookbooks.
More than anything, though, I was excited
to play with new technology. I had been in
publishing for 24 years and I really wanted to
learn something totally new. I had co-written
a book on email with my friend David Shi-pley. We had gone to SXSWi in 2007 to
launch it. And I met such amazing people
there, as well as through Chris Anderson. In
January 2008, I threw myself in the deep end.
I abruptly quit Hyperion to launch Cookstr.
ARA: After quitting, what was the biggest
initial challenge in making Cookstr happen?
WS: The biggest challenge was coming up
with a revenue model, given that the global
economy began to collapse just a few months
into 2008, and display advertising cratered
along with it. Luckily, I found great partners in
Katie Workman, Cookstr’s founding Editor-in-Chief, and Art Chang of Tipping Point Partners, our strategist and business lead. Even
with the most minimal funding, we were able
to get the best recipes from the best cookbooks,
because, right from the start, we offered to
share revenue with rights holders, and because
we built the site from the ground up to address
the kinds of issues that most concern publishers and recipe creators. Cookstr now features
roughly 9,000 recipes from more than 100 different rights holders, and every recipe appears
verbatim; is extensively tagged; and has a full
nutritional analysis. We also have a newsletter
with nearly 40,000 subscribers. And we’ve
become a revenue stream for publishers and
authors, as well as a way to promote deep
backlist books. And Cookstr is still, I think, the
only multiple author website that shares
income and can properly manage rights.
With Macmillan’s recent acquisition of digital recipe site Cookstr, veteran editor and author Will Schwalbe is
back with a major publisher, writes Andrew
Richard Albanese, who recently caught up
with the Coosktr founder to talk about his
experience launching a digital startup, and
his new role at Macmillan.
ARA: Let’s start at the top as they say; what
made you quit your job as Editor-in-Chief of
Hyperion to launch Cookstr?
WS: In 2006, I edited Chris Anderson’s The
Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More. It totally changed the way I
thought about publishing and the web. Over
the course of 2007, thanks to that book, I
started thinking more and more about new
digital opportunities for cookbooks. I had
also become fascinated with search technology. I suspected there could be an enthusiastic audience for a site that featured quality,
curated, trusted recipes from the world’s best
cookbooks–sort of a “Long Tail of Great
Recipes from the Long Tail of Great Chefs
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