Crafts vs. cooking: different markets (or, would you pay for a downloadable recipe?)
One thing that I love to do whenever I have a few spare moments it some kind of handcraft. I dabble in all kinds of things, from embroidery and cross stitch to knitting and crochet and other things. (Here’s my Ravelry page, which I’ve just started updating recently.)
I have a lot of craft books, but most are still in storage since we don’t want to fill up our house with stuff until the renovations are further along. So, I’ve been perusing a lot of online patterns. And something struck me - it’s considered to be quite normal in the craft world to charge something for a downloadable pattern or set of instructions. Many Etsy sellers for instance do this. Prices range from under a dollar on up, to as high as $10.
Now, why don’t people do this for recipes? Well let me answer that: because people wouldn’t pay for them. I suppose this is because people are simply used to not paying for recipes, unless they are bound together in a book - the Nieman Marcus cookie recipe urban myth notwithstanding. On the other hand, knitters and other crafters have always paid for patterns, in the form of leaflets and such, and so they accept the paid download format without question. (I’ve seen a handful of recipes for sale on Etsy, but haven’t seen evidence that they have sold. Recipe collections are another matter - I’m talking of single recipes.)
Is this right though? Do craft directions take more time and effort to get right than say, a complicated recipe? You might argue that some craft directions require diagrams and patterns and such. But then, what if say, a talented bento artist put together a complete set of directions with diagrams for creating a bento landscape? Or what if a cake decorator did something similar for re-creating a gorgeous group of cupcakes - or a caterer gave really detailed instructions for a dinner party?
The strange thing is, when they are gathered together, printed on paper (or in a digital e-book) and presented as a collection in the form of a book, the price for cookbooks vs. craft books is not that different.
Anyway, what do you think? Would you ever pay for a single recipe? If so, under what circumstances? If not, why not? (Also, if you know if any single recipe that is selling successfully, please let me know…I’m curious!)