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Cookbooks from the Good Cook

Just as I was about to lob today's junk mail into the dark corner to which it belongs, a bright page full of cookbooks caught my eye. It turned out to be from one of those standard "Buy lots for $1 now and sign over your firstborn for life" type book clubs. I normally don't even look at these, but well, what can I say, it's for cookbooks (someone must have told them I'm under-the-weather and feeling a little vulnerable today).

I'm sorely tempted, as there are some decent books I'd love to get my hands on, but I'm very wary of these things- they just scream scam to me. Plus, when I checked their website, the fine print was a little too fine (as in, I can hardly find it at all). The deal in this particular case, as far as I can make out, is that you get 3 books for $1 each immediately, and then have to buy 2 more at regular prices over the next year. Plus shipping and handling for everything.

Their website (at least the Canadian version) is http://thegoodcook.ca.

My question is, has anyone else heard of these people, and ever tried them? In other words, someone please stop me....

Sincerely, Sucker-In-Waiting

- Lea

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  1. I was a member for a while - they're an OK operation and there's really no catch, other than (as with most book clubs) you need to be diligent about returning the cards each month or you get books shipped to you that you may not want. Even when that happens, you can just write "refused" across the unopened package and it gets returned to them at no cost to you - at least that's how it works in the US.

    The books they sell are somewhat discounted, but the shipping brings it up to about what you'd pay in a bookstore, and more than you can usually find the same books for at Amazon or Overstocks, etc. If you find 3 relatively expensive books that you really want and then buy two more relatively inexpensive ones and then quit the club the numbers can work out to your advantage. I found that their monthly selections were a bit heavy on the baking and Rachel Ray type cookbooks for my taste.

    1. Well, I took my law degree and went to that site. It's typical book club stuff - you need to purchase 4 more books over the next 2 years. Will you find 4 cookbooks you want in the next 2 years, or would you rather be free to buy your cookbooks somewhere else? Anywhere else?

      If you're under the weather, put it aside and think about it next week. They're not going anywhere.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Atlantis

        You are not the only lawyer here, and I cannot for the life of me see how that is relevant.

        I, for, one find them to be a totally reputable company. They have been around forever, and offer really good deals.

        You can purchase your Cookbooks from them, or from anyone else in the world. There is no restriction with your membership.

        They offer wonderful books at very interestoing prices, much lower than Amazon or Jessica's Biscuit.

        If the original poster is like most folks on CH, she will buy lots of cookbooks. Having the Good Cook option allows you to pick and choose, and benefit from their 1/2 price and $9.99 sales.

      2. I pretty much filled in my kitchen library using The Good Cook, then called them to discontinue my membership when I finally realized I had more cookbooks than I could possibly use. No argument from Customer Service, just an offer to keep sending me the monthly mailings without the send-in-the-card-or-you're-getting-the-book obligation, which I declined. While I was a member, I found the service to be very convenient and I thought the prices were better than at my local bookstores.

        1. I'm a member. I wouldn't say I love the club (the prices really aren't that great), but I do occasionally get great deals on things, and you can't beat that start up of 5 books for $1 each. Shipping does get you, but if you are the kind of person who remembers to send in the refusal card on time (and now you can also just get onto the website and decline the monthly feature), then why not try it? I think these days you only need promise to buy another book or two, and really, who can't find a good cookbook or two over a year? So, not a rave, but if it sounds fun to you, and you actually do see 4/5 cookbooks in the flyer that interest you, give it a shot.

          1 Reply
          1. re: LulusMom

            They don't publicize it any more, but they also have a toll-free number you can call to decline the current offering. It's 1-800-644-2662.

          2. I'm a member. I always wait until they have a good sale, 50% off, before buying the books. The best deal is on that introductory offer. Then wait until the markdowns happen. I've fulfilled my commitment but still keep the membership "just in case."

            1. You can not send in the card for a few months and return to sender any books that arrive, they then stop the must return before card. I didn't know about the contact number. I wonder if you can use the web site to decline the mail in card. I use the club when they have those good deals, like last month you paid the discounted price for one book (the highest price of course) and could order as many other books as you wanted for half price, so I got three high end pretty new cookbooks for around $45--I think that is a bargain.

              1 Reply
              1. re: faijay

                You can definitely use the website to decline the monthly special (in other words, the same thing you'd do if you mailed in the card). I do it every month, save myself a stamp.

              2. I used to belong a few years back. The problem was after cherry-picking their selection to for my initial books, there was very little I wanted from them even in a year. Most of the books were either single topic things ("Martinis" or "365 Foods to Make from Can" sort of stuff) or were the latest celebrity chef offering (lots of Food TV types). Basically the regular selections were pretty insipid compared to a good bookstore.

                1. I belong and I respond to decline my featured selection every time online. Doesn't cost a stamp, and doesn't take any time. They send confirmation that you've declined. Have gotten books shipped by accident, just return to sender and give them back to the postman.

                  1. I have been a member for years. The free books intro package is a real bargain.

                    Even better, now that I have fulfilled my membership committment, all books are $9.99 with only one shipping charge. I recently bought 14 books, all great books I have had on my list for a while. Included, Dorie Greenspan's latest, King Arthur Flour Cookies, a couple of Martha Stewarts's books, Paula Wolfert, and Claudia Roden's Arabesque, which I highly recommend.

                    1. I'm a member. I've fulfilled my commitment and I don't buy a lot of stuff from them, but occasionally something will present itself. Usually what that means is a featured selection grabs me because I'm not much more interested in browsing a website to see if there's something I might want to buy than I am in wandering around the mall to see if anything appeals. (I almost never open the monthly mailing; that's just a cue to me to go make sure I have responded to the featured selections.) If a featured book appears that I didn't ask for, I'll keep it if I like it, send it back if I don't. Last one I sent back--it was Paula Deen or someone that I don't care about--but the one before that was the Culinary Institute of America's One-Dish Meals, which I found intriguing, although many of their "one-dish meals" are more complicated than things in other cookbooks that use every pot in your kitchen.

                      I don't find anything particularly underhanded anywhere there, but book clubs are probably not something that will survive much longer, given online bookstores like Amazon.

                      1. Several years ago, I took advantage of their membership offer (5 books for $1, and buy a couple more after that), and when I'd met my requirements I called to cancel because I didn't like having to call them every few weeks to tell them to NOT send anything. So they put me on another plan -- one where I didn't have to respond unless I actually WANTED to buy a book. They sent me those mailings for a couple of years, during which time I didn't buy anything. Then one day I got a mailing from them that offered any book in the flyer for $9.99. And, there was no obligation to buy or even to respond. THAT'S a good deal, and I've bought a couple of books that list at $35-40 for $9.99. I continue to get those offers about monthly -- any book at that price, regardless of the price listed in the flyer.

                        1. I used to belong, but found that most of their books are also carried by Zooba (www.zooba.com) and since at Zooba all books are 9.99 including shipping, well, they come out cheaper in the long and short run. I'll keep my membership there and not join any more of the clubs...

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: scrapcatb

                            WOW - that zooba is an amazing site! I'd never heard of it before, but just a quick glance is making me think I'll be joining. Thanks for the tip.

                            1. re: scrapcatb

                              Zooba is part of Book of the Month Club, as is Good Cook.

                              I didn't find the books on Zooba too interesting, although the name is cute. The selection of newly published and top selling cookbooks is much greater on GCBC.

                            2. I've been a member for years. I deal with the ordering online. I've been perfectly happy with the club.

                              For the four days before Christmas last month, they had an AMAZING sale--most of the books in their catalogue were $9.99, with free shipping and no tax! I got five books, one of them (THE COOK'S BOOK) costs $50 in stores.

                              1. I have been a member for maybe 6 years. It's a pretty good deal, the sales are good, but all in all, I have found that the selection has become sparser and that I can find the same books for the same price or cheaper at Amazon or other sites. For the first time I will not renew, more because I can't find what I want anymore. (Tom, I took advantage of the $9.99 books too, it was great. This is what I mean about sales).

                                1. Thanks so much for all the responses. Perhaps I'm being a little too curmudgeonly about the whole enterprise. As some people have noted, their books tend towards the Food Network celebrities which doesn't interest me, but they do seem to have enough gems to warrant the initial membership agreement. Plus, I'm a sucker for snail mail (once it actually arrives).

                                  - Lea

                                  1. I've been a member for some time.

                                    Yesterday, I bought about 8 books from Overstock, I checked out GBC and their prices were a couple of dollars more, plus Overstock had a shipping sale.

                                    Total shipping charge was $2.95.