Selling by the Book: Instructions and the Commercialization of DIY Practices in Twentieth-Century Germany

The Bible is the world’s bestselling book of all time. In Germany, it was followed by a recipe book: Dr. Oetker’s Backen macht Freude (Baking is Fun). Exact numbers are not available for either book, yet it seems to be certain that at least from the 1950s to the 1980s, no other publication was as widely distributed in the country as these two. First published in 1930, Dr. Oetker’s book had managed to sell 20 million copies by the early 1960s, and more than 27 million by the 1980s.[1] Other cookbooks from the German food giant were less successful but still sold by the millions. It is not unjustified, from that perspective, that the company calls one of its books “the bible of cooking” on its homepage.[2] Continue reading “Selling by the Book: Instructions and the Commercialization of DIY Practices in Twentieth-Century Germany”