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Apr 11, 2010 10:23 PM

Is there a future for cookbooks? Do we need them anymore?

With the web and recipe and cooking sites in abundance. Do we really need cookbooks anymore?

I think they may have gone the way of the newspaper. While many people still read both, the number of people that do shrink every year, don't they?

Look I have a lot of books and many are cookbooks but I get most of my recipes nowadays off the web, I don't want to find them on the web every time I need them so i copy them into word format and save them on my hard drive. It is easy to modify for my needs and likes.

I was just wondering about other peoples comments on this. I hope I haven't offended any die hard cookbook fans.

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  1. Some advantages of cookbooks:

    1. they organize recipes. you can bookmark a recipe online, but the page can disappear and large bookmark menus are hard to navigate

    2. the pictures are nicer and they're already printed on photo quality paper. when you find nice pictures on the web, they gobble up ink to print out.

    3. books don't need a computer and you can lay on the couch thumbing through them.

    4. famous chefs have something to autograph.

    1. I feel like cookbooks have become a bit like cd's, you're mostly interested in a couple of recipes, and don't necessarily want to buy the whole book. And when you can get so many recipes online it's easy to print them off and collect them in a recipe book of your own.

      Having said that, I do think that there is still a market for cookbooks. There's the whole aesthetic aspect of it - like icecone says, the photos are nicer and you can easily just flick through the book without actually having to make any of the recipes. It's like food escapism. And if you want to make a recipe, you don't have to turn on the computer to find it.

      There are still loads of cookbooks being published, especially in the celebrity chef genre, and now food bloggers get the opportunity to publish their stuff too, so I definitely think cookbooks will be around for a good while.

      1. I, for one, find great value in cookbooks. I have found many great recipes online, but I am much more inspired by cookbooks. In addition to the aesthetic aspects others have noted, cookbooks provide valuable context that is hard to find on websites. Authors include discussions of techniques, ingredients, historical and cultural context, etc. that you're unlikely to find on websites that often offer recipes as discrete entities. Too, books on particular cuisines offer context and much education about that particular cuisine that is unusual to find on websites that may replicate some of the recipes. And consider that much of what one can find online, on blogs and on sites like Allrecipes and Recipe Zaar are recipes straight from cookbooks. If those cookbooks ceased to be released, there would be many fewer new and exciting recipes posted on the web.

        1. I'm much pickier about which cookbooks I actually buy anymore. But, I do buy cookbooks that are particularly useful, like Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. I'm not even a vegetarian, which tells you something. But, it's been several years since I found a cookbook I felt absolutely compelled to purchase like I did with Madison's. Purchasing is more of a pleasure, indulgence, and convenience, I'd say. I'm one of those who takes cookbooks to bed or to the doctor's office to read. Computers just don't make as good a companion, IMO, and certainly aren't sleep inducing. Until we fully integrate computers into our homes, i.e. monitors in many rooms with wi-fi, I think cookbooks will continue to have a place.

          1. All of my home cooking and professional chef friends & family still enjoy rec'ing cookbooks as gifts and view food mags, food blogs, cooking videos, CD/DVD food sets and recipe cards supplements to the original published work ie: cookbook. It is true that the markets in all areas are changing and changing fast but original work is still treasured imho.