Friday, October 23, 2009
My cookbook sources
This was my collection in 2006. I have another 5-shelf bookcase filled plus a few other piles of books now.
I don't think there are any shortage of places to buy cookbooks, unfortunately. I probably have way too many sources for my own good. Since I didn't have a recipe to post today I thought I'd do a little recap of my favorite places to buy cookbooks. Maybe they're not the best places to buy cookbooks but these are my own personal sources.
These are in no particular order:
I find book clubs to be a good source for picking up popular cookbooks that have been published recently. You know that ones you aren't going to find easily on the second hand market right away. While you may pay a little more for the books that you have to buy to fulfill your membership commitment (you have to pay a certain amount for those books to count towards your commitment - check the details), but when you average it out with your introduction package it's not a bad deal. They offer sales and free shipping often enough that you can always work out a decent deal on your fulfillment books. Every once and a while they have really good sales.
One thing to note about book clubs is that they're basically all run by the same company. You can join the mystery club and get all cookbooks. You can join the history club and get all cookbooks. You can join any themed club and get all cookbooks. Don't ask me how I know this.
Another thing to note is that they have drifted away from the automatic mailings. They haven't stopped completely but I think after you've met your commitment and have been a member for a while they stop them. You can just mark 'return to sender' on any unopened book and return it to them at no cost if you do get one you don't want. Of course, they give you a chance to respond online so if you're on top of things you shouldn't receive any feature selections. The feature selections are never a good deal.
Also, they give you the option of going paperless so you can do all your business online and your mail won't be clogged with catalogs.
Ollie's Bargain Outlet
Ollie's isn't a national chain but I'm lucky enough to have two within my shopping area. They have cheap books, mostly remains, but every so often a batch of something good gets sent there. I find lots of the Favorite Brand Name books there. Some of my favorite books came from Ollie's.
They also sometimes get great cookware there. I got my bread machine there for $39.99 and it's going strong after several years. I got my favorite cookie sheets there. They have crappy stuff too but you never know when you're going to find something good.
I don't find a lot of cookbooks at yard sales but when I do, I usually get a great deal. Most people sell books for $1 or less around here.
Flea Market/Farmer's Market
Regular readers know I used to have a guy who sold me old cookbooks cheap, at a local one-day-a-week farmer's market/flea market we have in this area. When gas prices shot up he decided not to have a stall at this market anymore since he had to drive so far to get there. I miss him but his prices were so cheap (mostly $1 or 50 cents, occasionally $2 for big hardcovers) and his selection so interesting that I was getting overrun. I don't visit the market as often anymore but when I do I sometimes find cookbooks at some of the other junk stalls.
Amazon is a great place to find slightly used cookbooks at a much reduced cost from other sellers. If you look up a title, they will list if it's available used (or even new) from other sellers and the condition, prices and shipping fees from various sellers will be listed under that link. I've never had a disappointing transaction that way. Usually if I want a specific book quickly, this is the route I go.
Costco doesn't have a huge selection but they often have a few newly released books at a good price (much less than publisher's price), along with a few 'bargain' books. It's someplace I can satisfy a fix in a pinch without feeling too guilty.
I just rediscovered how many great books they have in their bargain section and they were running a buy 2 get one free on bargain books. They are so close to Costco (which I visit regularly) that this could be a dangerous situation for me.
I also have a local antique market that sells older books where I could satisfy a fix in a pinch. Occasionally I find a book in stores like Ross for Less, Marshall's Tuesday Morning, etc. Once I found Better Homes and Gardens cookbook in the Dollar General for $1. It was a thin hardcover but a good one. Sometimes in local businesses I see books being sold for local charities and I will buy one.
That's all that I can think of right now. This would probably be a good time to ask my readers for other good places to buy cookbooks but I clearly don't need that information!