2020’s Best-Selling Cookbook (So Far) Shouldn’t Come as a Surprise

updated Jul 23, 2020
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Credit: Mackenzie Schieck

As difficult as it is to admit, we are more than halfway through the year, which means that Publisher’s Weekly has released the BookScan data for the first six months of 2020, including the list of the best-selling books of the year. And there’s only one cookbook on the top 20 that they released, and that’s Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Table Volume 2.

The cookbook, which only came out four months into the year, has sold more than a half-million copies. Even more impressive in its sales numbers during this time of isolation is that the book’s subtitle is “a collection of recipes for gathering.” This is, as cookbook newsletter Stained Page News put it, “to the surprise of absolutely no one.”

That’s because the Washington Post already pointed out that Gaines dominates the cookbook industry, with their article asking “Why did the food media ignore the best-selling cookbook of 2018?” That year, her first book was also the second-best seller across the book industry.

Gaines’ Waco-based empire, which stemmed from her HGTV show Fixer Upper with her husband, Chip, includes their Magnolia online store and Magnolia Market complex. Like so many of the top-selling cookbooks, the Magnolia books sell not just recipes, but also the idea of being able to live a life like that of the authors. The cover shows very little food, and none of it cooked — instead, it’s demonstrating the neutral tones, soft fabrics, and eye-pleasing decor and flora that you could bring into your house. 

But there are recipes — an impressive 145 of them, no less — including mushroom-Gruyére quiche, and grilled bruschetta chicken. If you’re wondering if it’s the book for you, you can give one of the recipes (a creamy chicken poblano soup) a try here — a nod to what Gaines calls “the best soup either of us have ever had.”

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