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Cookbook owner's dilemma: buy, borrow, ebook - what's fair?

Cookbook

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#31 Mjx

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 08:53 AM

I think this depends on your level of experience as much as anything. Over lots of years you can assess a recipe and know if it is close to what it should be. Even then, recipes will always require final adjustment that depends on the cook. I like the idea of crowd sourcing because it tends to approach a point of agreement. This is vastly different from taking the opinion of one cook: which is why wikipedia works for the educated punter.


The thing is, since I do have a fair amount of experience, a quick glance tends to reveal that a lot of what's out there is a mess. There are some gems, but I'm not keen on having to paw through masses of rubbish to find them. With wikipedia, I seldom bother with the articles, but look at the references and investigate those as starting points; with a lot of online recipes, you don't even get that to work with.
I've definitely found things online that are brlliant, so I return to these sources again and again. But just trawling the web... no thanks.

With all of the mistakes in recipe books plus the well-known fact that restaurant chefs don't measure and write scaled-down estimates of their recipes that may or not work we need to take all recipes with, dare I say it, a pinch of salt.

Relying on old favourites simply means that you will always cook old favourites; not that this is a bad thing but progress is founded on mistakes, not on comfort.


Progress is founded on new understanding, not just mistakes, as such, because all those might do is make you realize 'Okay, that was a bad idea'.
I experiment quite a bit. I also have a good deal of respect for scientific method, and figure that if I don't have a clue as to what caused a problem, I get nothing from the experience. If I start from something I know to be solid, I get to choose the variables I with to play with.

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#32 Silkhat

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 08:16 PM

I , like many others , like the feel and looks of a physical book that I can sit and comfortably browse. I am not sure a small reading device about 6 ins will replace my large cookbooks.

 

Having said that I can see that progress will in all inevitability take us down the path of ebooks.

 

Other than Amazon do any members know a secure site to download ecookbooks as my only 2 attempts resulted in having viruses invade my computer and the cost of having it cleaned was far far more than what I would have paid for a hard copy of the cookbook I was trying to download.

 

I have bought many books from Betterworld Books and was surprised to hear they are not a charity.

 

As I live in Australia shipping costs to me are important and I find www.thriftbooks.com in the US and www.awesomebooks.com in the UK very reasonably priced books and shipping is also reasonable



#33 nickrey

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 10:05 PM

I , like many others , like the feel and looks of a physical book that I can sit and comfortably browse. I am not sure a small reading device about 6 ins will replace my large cookbooks.

 

Having said that I can see that progress will in all inevitability take us down the path of ebooks.

 

Other than Amazon do any members know a secure site to download ecookbooks as my only 2 attempts resulted in having viruses invade my computer and the cost of having it cleaned was far far more than what I would have paid for a hard copy of the cookbook I was trying to download.

 

I have bought many books from Betterworld Books and was surprised to hear they are not a charity.

 

As I live in Australia shipping costs to me are important and I find www.thriftbooks.com in the US and www.awesomebooks.com in the UK very reasonably priced books and shipping is also reasonable

Check out www.booko.com.au (sorry couldn't get link to work, you'll need to type in address). They check many different sources for books, combine the purchase cost with postage and give you a list of providers from the cheapest to the most expensive. I use it all the time to buy cookbooks at the best price.


Edited by nickrey, 15 March 2013 - 10:07 PM.

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#34 Silkhat

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 10:21 PM

Can you get ecookbooks on the Booko site



#35 ePressureCooker

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 05:48 PM

I must admit my preference (eBook versus physical cookbook) depends on the cookbook.  I really like my eBook version of "The Flavor Bible" because its searchable.  Want to find out what goes well with Worcestershire sauce, and for whatever reason, they don't have an entry for it, then I can search, find other items that have Worcestershire sauce listed under them, create a note, list the items, and voila, I have the information.  It would be incredibly hard (read, impossible) to do this manually.  I do love physical cookbooks, though, despite space and green considerations.

 

As for supporting the publishing industry, I'd be willing to bet publishers make MORE off digital cookbooks than physical ones.  Not only are there no printing costs involved, they're not having to pay for wherehouse space to store them, bodies to package and ship them, shipment fees, and there are no remaindered books coming back that need to be disposed of.  But there is an issue related to digital cookbooks many folks haven't thought of, that you might want to contemplate in making digital purchases.  Hopefully this won't apply to you for many decades to come, but if you're hoping to leave your digital cookbook library to a child, you're out of luck.  When you buy an ebook, you don't actually purchase a copy, you're licensing its use.  For you alone, its non transferable.  So your collection can't be left to your favorite library, a cooking club, or that daughter who loves to cook.  It goes poof.

 

As for supporting the authors, I'm not sure how much they actually make off a cookbook.  Its probably far less than we could imagine possible.  Several years ago, a very prominent quilter and quilt book author, who probably made close to top tier as far as quilting book deals go, told me that quilting authors made about a buck a book.  That would be about a buck out of a $25, $30 quilting book, a mere fraction of the cost.  Many of them made their money off the book in other ways, as a promotional tool, using it to launch specific quilting classes, or buying it wholesale from the publisher and selling it to their students (at quilt shows and seminars) for full retail.  I suspect the same may be likely true for most cookbook authors as well.

 

If you really want to support the authors (and that's laudable in my opinion), there might be other ways of doing it.  Find the author's website, and buy their cookbook through their links.  Odds are, they may be affiliate links, and the author may make more from their affiliate commission (up to 8 percent of the purchase price) than they would from the publisher.  Let me give a couple of examples (and before anyone asks about it, I have no connection with any of these folks or their websites, no financial ties, they were chosen almost at random to provide examples for the OP).  The other day I was searching for something, and stumbled upon this page from Michael Ruhlman's website http://ruhlman.com/2...need-your-help/ which interested me because it had pictures of several books, including a book on schmaltz he's releasing in October I'm very interested in.  If you hover over those book images, those aren't traditional Amazon affiliate links, but they're worded in a very specific way, including with a /ruhlmancom on the end, that leads me to believe there's an affiliate relationship there.  Which means, most likely, if you click on the image to go to Amazon, and purchase stuff in the next 24 hours, Mr. Ruhlman is probably making a commission for referring the purchase.  Or if you go to Dorie Greenspan's site, http://www.doriegreenspan.com/ then click on "Books" she's got a whole Amazon astore set up there, with not only her books, but recommended cooking equipments.  If you hover over the pictures or the text links, the links will say "doriegreenspa-20" somewhere in them.  That's the affiliate code.  So you're helping support the site, and presumably the author.  Or since Lynn Rosetto Kasper was mentioned above, I found her website, http://www.splendidtable.org/books , went to the books section, and if you hover over the links, say for the book on top, that Amazon link with the "tsplent-20" at the end is an Amazon link, and I think the other two (B&N, etc.) links are also affiliate codes.

 

Whatever format you end up buying, new, used, digital, if you want to help your favorite cookbook authors without it costing you a dime, find their websites and look for affiliate links.  Even if you buy something unrelated, golf clubs, a TV, video games, you name it, as long as you make the purchase within 24 hours of going through their affiliate links, they get a commission.

 

(And again, I have no affiliation whatsoever with the above, no financial interest, they were chosen as semi-random examples).



#36 furzzy

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 08:57 PM

Libraries aren't always paying extra for most books purchased--in most cases, they're getting a price similar to Amazon's from a jobber. In some cases, they're buying direct from Amazon or local retailers offering a discount for volume purchases.

Authors are compensated up front through their advances...the typical cookbook never "earns out" the advance (ie, sells sufficient copies to generate additional royalties), so my choice to use the public library isn't exactly cutting into anyone's potential income.


How do you come about this information?

My experience is that libraries DO pay licensing fees. And not all authors get advances; and for those that do, mainly those with proven track records, the amount of advance is based on what the publisher is pretty sure they'll be able to sell.

I have no issue with using the library. Many times, especially for unknown authors, the best push in sales comes from libraries when the book first comes out.

#37 furzzy

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 09:10 PM

I see the economic incentive for self-publishing, but I wonder to what extent overall quality would suffer if this became the norm. The (admittedly few) writers I know, some of them cookbook writers, give a lot of credit to their editors. Photography, layout and indexing are also factors I can think of in producing a high-quality book in print or e-book format. There must be some writers who can do it all on their own and get it right, but I doubt they're in the majority.


Agreed. Rhulman's Schmaltz was really good. But I completely agree with you on all the various issues. Just look at some of the self published novels, let alone cookbooks, on Amazon. Editing, formatting, layout, indexing, etc., they go mostly from acceptable to abysmal. I've returned several cookbooks because of formatting problems, and these were done by supposed publishers. I really wanted to own John Besh's new book, but the formatting was so bad I just couldn't keep it.

#38 SylviaLovegren

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 06:57 AM

As for supporting the authors, I'm not sure how much they actually make off a cookbook.  Its probably far less than we could imagine possible.  Several years ago, a very prominent quilter and quilt book author, who probably made close to top tier as far as quilting book deals go, told me that quilting authors made about a buck a book.  That would be about a buck out of a $25, $30 quilting book, a mere fraction of the cost.  Many of them made their money off the book in other ways, as a promotional tool, using it to launch specific quilting classes, or buying it wholesale from the publisher and selling it to their students (at quilt shows and seminars) for full retail.  I suspect the same may be likely true for most cookbook authors as well.
Whatever format you end up buying, new, used, digital, if you want to help your favorite cookbook authors without it costing you a dime, find their websites and look for affiliate links.  Even if you buy something unrelated, golf clubs, a TV, video games, you name it, as long as you make the purchase within 24 hours of going through their affiliate links, they get a commission.

If the author has been printed by a publisher, rather than self-publishing, buying so that the publisher gets a benefit is an excellent idea. While the author only gets a small portion of the sale price as a royalty, the sale tells the publisher that this author is worthy of support. This means that the publisher may continue to make the book available to bookstores and, very unlikely but possible, might actually promote the book. It also means that the publisher will look favorably upon the author's next book proposal.

#39 ePressureCooker

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 01:09 PM

As for supporting the authors, I'm not sure how much they actually make off a cookbook.  Its probably far less than we could imagine possible.  Several years ago, a very prominent quilter and quilt book author, who probably made close to top tier as far as quilting book deals go, told me that quilting authors made about a buck a book.  That would be about a buck out of a $25, $30 quilting book, a mere fraction of the cost.  Many of them made their money off the book in other ways, as a promotional tool, using it to launch specific quilting classes, or buying it wholesale from the publisher and selling it to their students (at quilt shows and seminars) for full retail.  I suspect the same may be likely true for most cookbook authors as well.
Whatever format you end up buying, new, used, digital, if you want to help your favorite cookbook authors without it costing you a dime, find their websites and look for affiliate links.  Even if you buy something unrelated, golf clubs, a TV, video games, you name it, as long as you make the purchase within 24 hours of going through their affiliate links, they get a commission.

If the author has been printed by a publisher, rather than self-publishing, buying so that the publisher gets a benefit is an excellent idea. While the author only gets a small portion of the sale price as a royalty, the sale tells the publisher that this author is worthy of support. This means that the publisher may continue to make the book available to bookstores and, very unlikely but possible, might actually promote the book. It also means that the publisher will look favorably upon the author's next book proposal.

 

I'm not suggesting somehow doing the publisher, if any, out of their share.  And you're right, buying the cookbook is the best way to demonstrate to the publisher that the author has an audience and future cookbooks will be marketable.  I'm merely suggesting that if you want to help your favorite authors, an ADDITIONAL means of supporting them is to buy their books (or anything else) through the affiliate links on their sites, so they make extra money.  Nothing wrong with that.  It is, after all, giving the maximum reward to cookbook authors you like.







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