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:

Book Clubs
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.

Yard Sales
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!


Anonymous said...

No, I think you've got that covered!


Jannett said...

Well I feel you can never have enough cookbooks. :)

Pilar said...

Thrift stores are gold mines for cookbooks, especially old ones. Library book sales are great, too. Church rummage sales have been a good source as well. I haven't tried 1/2 Price Books, but that might be a fun place.

Rochelle R. said...

I have a Friends of the Library Bookstore nearby. Their cookbooks are usually only $1.50. I have to limit the amount of visits I make there. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm a library book sale fanatic, but unless it's a very big sale the cookbooks are pretty lame. You often have to get there quite early to get the best stuff. I do the thrift stores as well. I work in a school and there is an organization called "Books Are Fun" that leaves samples of books to order every few weeks. I've gotten a ton of "Taste of Home" books for about 8 or 9 dollars, which in general is quite good, but seems like a fortune when I'm used to 50 cent or $1 used books!

~~louise~~ said...

Hi Paula,
I'm in the process of making the final move to PA. Little by little I have been packing and sorting through my collection in order to get it well, in order.

You think that stops me from picking up more goodies? No...I just can't resist. The places you mention are all the same places I scout out books. I look forward to auction season next year so I can buy them by the box full. Just what I need LOL

Thanks for sharing your books with us and reminding us where too look.

The Cookbook Junkie said...

The closest I have come to finding a cookbook at a library sale is one single volume of The Encyclopedia of Cooking. I can't get there on Fridays when they start. By Saturday there is nothing good at all, never mind cookbooks. I suspect the volunteers gets the best donations.

I have bought books from Books are Fun. They've been in the lobby at work a few times. They just come for a one-day, on-the-spot sale. The prices are reasonable for new cookbooks.

If I started buying cookbooks by the box at auctions, I'd be in huge trouble. That's where my old cookbook guy used to buy his books. He would also sell me the collections of loose recipes and small recipe booklets that he would get along with the cookbooks at some auctions. Those are neat but a real pain to try to organize and store.

~~louise~~ said...

I know what you mean Paula. I AM in big trouble. However, auctions are one of the few ways I can get the die-cut recipe books I so adore. I have most of my recipe booklets and die-cuts in binders in plastic protectors with many more to still file. So far I have over 30 binders!!! The loose recipes, which some people collect, are mostly in plastic shoe boxes:) I don't have as many and they are quite unorganized. Dare I say, anyone interested in the loose recipes???

Heather said...

I also like to use which is kin to ebay, but you aren't bidding. Someone mentioned 1/2 priced books and it is a great place!

Tia said...

borders is awesome esp. with their coupons.
costco too - the little selection they have is always great priced.

milgwimper said...

I buy my cookbooks online now that I have moved out of the U.S. I have had really good service in the states and out with although I really miss the second hand bookstores I could cruise through back home. I do not work for ecookbooks but I have bought way too many books from them. :P