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Korean Publishers


Recipe Factory

The delicious world of specialized cookbooks




Recipe Factory, with its message ‘Simple Recipes for Small Happiness,’ has established itself as a specialized publisher of cookbooks for 16 years, demonstrating how focusing on a single field can lead to the production of diverse content. In line with the growing interest in cooking and food, Recipe Factory not only publishes specialized books on the theme of ‘cooking’ but also creates intriguing content based on cooking, engaging in proactive communication with readers. We met with Recipe Factory, which publishes books that are packed with the information and value well-made cookbooks should have, much like a well-prepared meal filled with care.


Logo of Recipe Factory

Logo of Recipe Factory



It is a pleasure to have you with us on K-Book Trends. Please introduce Recipe Factory to our international readers along with the meaning of the company’s name.


Just as you can guess from our name, Recipe Factory is a publisher specializing in cookbooks. Founded 16 years ago with the idea of becoming a “recipe workshop,” Recipe Factory had a recipe development team alongside the editing team, unlike other publishers. The two teams collaborated to develop “tried-and-true recipes that guarantee success” and made many cooking magazines and recipe books. Also, we opened a customer service center for recipes in the online readers’ community to rapidly answer readers’ questions. For more challenging cookbooks, we had a pre-release testing phase where readers would follow along with the recipes and validate them before publication. We made cookbooks like a dynamic “factory” to ensure the high quality of our books.
While we no longer have the recipe development team as the cooking magazine ceased publication, our team of food editors is communicating with readers and collaborating with third-party writers to make each cookbook with the best we can offer, as well as to produce practical products with delicate details that make them more than just books.


Since its establishment in 2009, Recipe Factory has published about 200 cooking magazines and 80 cookbooks, and exported multiple cookbooks to other countries. What was the driver behind the 15+ years of publishing while maintaining a clear identity as a publisher specializing in cooking?


The biggest driver is our readers’ community. We call the community and its members the “ReFac (Recipe Factory) Friends.” As we pursue publishing cookbooks that readers can keep in the kitchen for daily use, rather than those that are stuck on the bookshelf after a flip-through, ReFac Friends naturally gained more recipe reviews from our readers, facilitating Q&As as well. The community currently has about 60,000 members, and on top of active interaction, various “cookbook clubs” are run. Some examples are the “Super Beginners Club” for those new to cooking, the “Seniors Club” for those experienced, and the “Challengers Club” where the members follow cookbooks for healthy dishes. As each club is sponsored by firms, ReFac Friends can enjoy various benefits through the clubs - making the best use of cookbooks by interacting with the writer and receiving sponsors’ products free of charge. Also, aside from the readers’ community, Recipe Factory provides other services, such as the “early bird” service in which the subscribers receive the latest news posts on social media like Instagram or newly published titles via text message.
As such, as we hear all types of feedback, both positive and negative, as well as support and encouragement from our readers greatly interested in home cooking, cuisine, and health through everyday communication, we could gain more experience and know-how in the field, which helped us focus on publishing cookbooks.


Everyday Cooking: Bowls With Balanced Nutrition

Everyday Cooking: Detox Smoothie & Healthy Drinks

Everyday Cooking: Bowls With Balanced Nutrition and Everyday Cooking: Detox Smoothie & Healthy Drinks



“Just as there are recipes for making delicious dishes, could there also be recipes for creating laughter, healing, and growth? Recipe Factory and Gamgyul Bookstore aim to be your simple recipe for small happiness in this world full of ambiguity.” I believe this phrase perfectly encapsulates the philosophy and identity of Recipe Factory. What efforts are you making to embody this in your books?


Based on active communication with our readers, we strive to make our cookbooks more collectible by carefully reflecting their needs. Also, we do our best to provide opportunities for readers to feel the joy of cooking, the pleasure of growing skills, and the happiness of sharing through cookbook clubs.
Plus, we pay extra attention to the details when editing - we try to add aesthetic visual elements to the books so readers can feel healed when opening them. For this, We collaborate with professional food photographers for our projects, and all author-taken photos are retouched by professional photographers to enhance quality and refine the tone and appearance. We usually select the cover design through readers‘ vote, providing various samples.
With regards to the content of the books, we use easy language along with infographics for theoretical books to make them more understandable for beginners. For recipes, we provide various alternative materials to increase their usage, and explain the cooking steps with plenty of photographs. For readers who find it hard to choose which dish to make, we added “A, B, C” icons in the table of contents to guide them. Dishes labelled “A” are for the “advanced,” meaning they are a little more challenging, “B” are for “beginners,” literally meaning they are for beginners, and “C” are for “special choices,” meaning they are the writer‘s special picks. Following at least one of the recipes sparks interest and affection for the book, leading to greater utilization. Because, as with so many things, once you take the first step, the rest is easy. That’s why our books are full of icons to help readers take that first step.



We do our best to provide opportunities for readers to
feel the joy of cooking, the pleasure of growing their cooking skills, and the happiness of sharing.



While people’s interest in cooking has increased significantly in society as a whole, Recipe Factory appears to be very much in tune with this mood. How do you think this has affected Recipe Factory, and what role do you see Recipe Factory playing in this trend?


The interest in food is still very much the same now as it was then, but what has changed is the needs and tastes of readers. This has led to a segmented cookbook market - meaning that diverse publishing has become possible. When Recipe Factory started 16 years ago, the atmosphere was different. So, we focused on monthly cooking magazines, and only published two or three cookbooks a year, whereas now we publish a total of 10 to 12 cookbooks a year, balanced across five categories.


You have five categories for your books: Daily Cooking, Healthy Cooking, Cooking for Kids, Baking and Beverages, and Homemaking and Others. Why did you split your books into these categories, and what are the characteristics of the books in each one?


It’s based on the needs of readers. Sometimes, these five categories are published separately, and sometimes they are combined to form a new concept.
The “Daily Cooking” category focuses on flavor, gourmet food, and lifestyle, addressing concerns such as how to cook more deliciously and cost-effectively. A representative title is the Secret Cookbook series by Merry Cook, known as the “Korean food teacher of influencers.” Featuring a series of books, including the first volume of side dishes, the second volume of soups, the third volume of one-bowl rice and noodles, and the fourth volume of meat and seafood specialties, the books are packed with great-tasting secrets that will definitely upgrade your food taste and cooking skills.


The Secret Cookbook series by Merry Cook

The Secret Cookbook series by Merry Cook

The Secret Cookbook series by Merry Cook

The Secret Cookbook series by Merry Cook

The Secret Cookbook series by Merry Cook



The books in the “Healthy Cooking” category focus on weight loss and health, providing scientific evidence, first-hand experiences, and easy-to-follow recipes that can be repeated over time. One of the best-selling books is Low Carb Balanced Diet for Diabetes and High Blood Pressure, which was published last year and has become a bestseller. The book is a collection of recipes and experiences of chef Yoon Jia, who had always loved food and cooking, but was diagnosed with pre-diabetes, hypertension, and severe obesity at the hospital and spent 180 days developing and practicing a variety of low-carb, balanced diets to bring all the numbers back into control.
The “Cooking for Kids” category covers a wide range of dishes for all stages of a child’s life cycle, from the prenatal period to infancy, preschool, and adolescence. One of the most popular books is Recipe Factory’s first book, Baby Food That Works, by a popular parenting blogger. Every recipe was thoroughly tested by the recipe development team at Recipe Factory, so even new moms can follow along without failure. With more than 420,000 copies sold, it’s still a favorite today.
Meanwhile, “Baking and Beverages” focuses on trends, expertise, and in-depth hobbies, covering topics such as baking, pastry, beverages, wine, and more. Its flagship title is Better Than a Cafe: From Basics to Applications, and it has been a bestseller in the cafe beverage category since its publication. With cafe beverage consultant Onest Kim guiding you through a variety of beverages, this book is perfect for anyone who enjoys a home cafe or runs one.


『당뇨와 고혈압 잡는 저탄수 균형식 다이어트』

『아기가 잘 먹는 이유식은 따로 있다』

『카페보다 더 맛있는 카페 음료, 기본부터 응용까지』

Low Carb Balanced Diet for Diabetes and High Blood Pressure; Baby Food That Works; Better Than a Cafe: From Basics to Applications



Lastly, the “Homemaking and Others” category is for titles that don’t fit into any of the four categories above, but cover content that Recipe Factory readers need. These aren’t really cookbooks, but the way they present their content is in the form of recipes. For example, our upcoming book on cleaning is a recipe for cleaning each corner and object in your home, with complete instructions for tools, time required, steps, and tips. This category features books on everything from homemaking to gardening, cooking for kids, and cooking for pets.


Bookstore Gamgyul, which opened as a cookbook shop in 2018, closed in 2021, and was relaunched online this year under the same name. Why did you decide to make this change? And what role does the online Bookstore Gamgyul play in Recipe Factory?


The year 2018 marked Recipe Factory’s 10th anniversary. That year, we opened a pop-up cookbook shop, Bookstore Gamgyul, in Jeju, Korea’s most popular tourist destination, to meet readers in person and promote our 200+ cookbooks, cooking magazines, and handmade goods. Over the course of the three-year project, we met many readers and found ideas for our cookbooks from messages posted on the idea board on the wall. Also, the self-cooking class we held with Airbnb (where you can try following the recipes in the cookbook with local Jeju ingredients and plate them with the same dishes used in the photoshoot) was so popular that it was immediately fully booked, giving us a meaningful time to hear the stories of young readers.
Although we were unable to continue the second Bookstore Gamgyul project due to the COVID-19 pandemic after the first one ended, we are planning to do it again in the near future, but in a different location. This time, we are planning to have a cookbook store and self-cooking classes, as well as a food and beverage store where you can taste the dishes featured in the cookbooks. In the meantime, we launched the online Bookstore Gamgyul this year as a pre-step to make sure that the project isn’t forgotten. While it functions as an official website, we will also be carrying out other programs, such as group purchases and writer-curated shopping programs.



Recipe Factory and Bookstore Gamgyul will be
simple recipes for your little happiness in this world full of ambiguity.



It seems that there have been quite a few changes in Recipe Factory’s business, including the launch of the online bookstore Gamgyul, as well as the discontinuation of the cooking magazine, and the reorganization of the business to focus on cookbooks. Could you tell us a little bit more about this?


Recipe Factory started its publishing business with cooking magazines. Although it was a latecomer in the magazine industry, it was loved by many readers through active communication with them. However, due to the rapid growth of the online content market and companies (advertisers) investing in their own promotional channels, the magazine business had neither strong sales nor advertising revenue. While monthly magazines are sold throughout the month and the remaining copies are discarded, the amount of discarded copies gradually increased. So, we tried to convert to bimonthly or quarterly to extend the sales period, but it was not enough. Advertising revenue was also unstable. On the other hand, while we only published two to four cookbooks a year, their sales were stable and even grew steadily. In particular, cookbooks on specialized topics and keywords with high search volumes were selling well. So, at the end of the 10th year, we decided to stop the two magazines and reorganize the business around cookbooks. Now, we are entering the sixth year, gradually increasing the number of titles published each year. Currently, we are publishing 1-2 titles per month, and about 20-30% of the books’ copyrights are exported overseas. This year, we launched the online bookstore Gamgyul as a channel for readers to purchase things other than cookbooks, including cooking classes, and will be up and running in the fall.


You are actively interacting with readers or followers on social media and providing various content. What do these activities mean for Recipe Factory’s businesses?


Unlike general books, we believe that cookbooks are practical commodities that multiply in value when flipped through and followed. So, when Recipe Factory makes a cookbook, we take the readers’ voices into account at the beginning and the end. We actively utilize our readers’ community and social media to listen to readers’ voices, such as recruiting readers’ planning teams, receiving feedback from readers, having readers verify recipes, and listening to readers’ reviews through cookbook clubs. As our readers play a huge role in promoting as well as planning, they are the beginning and end of our business - they truly matter to us.


Could you introduce some of your books to our international readers that you think best represent the nature of Recipe Factory?


We would like to first recommend The Real Basic Cookbook, Recipe Factory’s signature cookbook. It was carefully designed and tested by Recipe Factory’s recipe development team, with detailed feedback from more than a hundred members of our beginner cooks group. It has sold more than 240,000 copies to date, is still a steady bestseller, and has been published overseas as a basic Korean cookbook. Every recipe is described in great detail, including portions, heat settings, cooking time, and checking for readiness, so beginners who have just moved out of their mom’s house can cook delicious meals with basic ingredients and seasonings. This year, we published Plating Recipes to Brighten Up Your Daily Meals, which immediately became the No. 1 bestseller in the cooking category. With the rise of interest in photogenic food due to the influence of Social Media, plating is now attracting as much attention as cooking. This book, written by a food artist that meets both practicality and beauty, introduces 20 plating tips that can be applied to any dish and 40 recipes that best exemplify plating skills.
Last but not least, we would like to introduce The Moment You Need a Salad, and the Moment When Your Dressing Shines, which has been a bestseller in Taiwan as well as in Korea. The father of the writer, a culinary researcher, is in his mid-60s but has the vascularity of a mid-20s man, and the secret is salad for breakfast. Combining the tips the writer learned from her mother, who made a different salad and dressing every day, with recipes she developed as a culinary researcher, the writer has developed more than 120 salads and 100 dressings. The book features a variety of salads, including simple salads to accompany main dishes, full meal salads, Korean salads that are perfect as a side dish, and fancy culinary salads for serving guests. As the recipes are categorized into two sections, prepping salad ingredients and preparing dressings, you can mix and match and have endless applications - making the book a bible of salads.


The Real Basic Cookbook

Plating Recipes to Brighten Up Your Daily Meals

The Moment You Need a Salad, and the Moment When Your Dressing Shines

The Real Basic Cookbook; Plating Recipes to Brighten Up Your Daily Meals; The Moment You Need a Salad, and the Moment When Your Dressing Shines



We are excited to see the next steps of Recipe Factory as you continue to expand your horizons in the cooking field by publishing books that build on your expertise as well as give Recipe Factory a competitive edge. Can you tell us about your upcoming releases and future goals?


We will continue to focus on the field of cooking that we are best at and publish highly collectible cookbooks while communicating with our readers. In particular, this year, we are preparing for the new No. 1 Mentor’s Know-How series while solidifying the existing popular The Real Basic Cookbook series, Everyday Cooking series, and Healthy Meals series. We are also planning to further facilitate activities such as cookbook clubs and Bookstore Gamgyul to connect writers, readers, and food brands.




#Recipe Factory#Cook#ReFac Friends#Cookbook club#Gamgyul Bookstore
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