Food52 is an ingenious publishing idea thought up by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs. Each week Amanda and Merrill pick a different theme and then allow a community of home chefs and food enthusiasts to send them their best recipes. They’re tested, judged and then voted on by the community. The winners get included in a book that’ll be published by HarperStudio.
It’s a brilliant idea for so many reasons. Amanda and Merrill have plenty of food writing experience, having written books, for the New York Times and a number of magazines, but letting the crowd have input means they get to tap into the food expertise of hundreds if not thousands of people.
The open and crowdsourced nature of the project also means the book is building the kind of pre-publication buzz that any publisher would kill for. It’s not just the winners that’ll be telling their friends and family about the book, a lot of those who submitted recipes will undoubtedly do the same.
The model won’t work for a lot of books, a crowdsourced novel will probably suck, but crowdsourced photo anthologies, how-to-books, craft books, etc. would be exceptional.