Paula Deen may have lost her television show, her endorsements, and her agent, but the cooking guru has seen an explosion of cookbook sales after she became embroiled in a racism scandal.
The scandal emerged last month, when a deposition surfaced in which Deen admitted to using the N-word in the past. The fallout from the incident led the Food Network to drop Paula Deen from her show, and a number of sponsors also jumped ship. This week Deen split with her longtime agent, Barry Weiner.
But despite the growing scandal, fans of Paula Deen have been undaunted in buying the southern chef’s cookbook. In fact, sales of her recent cookbooks have seen a boom since the scandal first began.
For the week ending June 30, there were 2,950 copies of her last nine books sold at stores participating in Nielsen BookScan, which covers close to 85 percent of the print book market. That represents an increase of nearly 700 percent from each of the three weeks before the scandal broke.
Close to half of those sold were Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible, her most recent book. Though the book only sold about 150 copies in each of the first three weeks in June, the week after the scandal there were nearly 1,300 sold.
The sales seem to defy media experts, who have claimed that Deen’s career is as good as dead.
Paula Deen is finished as a bankable personality,” said crisis communications expert Gene Grabowski of Levick Strategic Communications. “It doesn’t appear that anyone will stand behind her now. Her video apologies seemed stage and were unpersuasive. There is nothing more she likely can do in terms of salvaging her career.”
Deen’s luck with book sales won’t last forever. Ballantine Books announced that it canceled the October release of her next cookbook, Paula Deen’s New Testament, even though the item was one of the most popular on Amazon.
But for Paula Deen, it’s not just cookbooks that appear scandal-proof. Bookings on her Royal Caribbean cruise became so popular in the days after her scandal broke that the company had to add an extra departure in 2014.