Ideas on how to make EYB work better for you (updated with EYB new features and helpful articles)

While many of us are isolating, working from home, helping our kids with their tele-education, we might be looking for tasks to take our mind off the pandemic. Below are a few ideas to make EYB work better for you. To learn more about EYB see our help section. (Recently, EYB was one of Food & Wine’s picks. Find out more.)

Finish getting your Bookshelf set up – we are sure there are members who have never completed their Bookshelf. Get your shelves organized, check to make sure all your books are on EYB. If you find duplicate titles, you can gift a neighbor or friend the duplicate (and tell them about EYB!)

Index one of your much-loved books – something useful that can help to stop you obsessing about the pandemic on social media. If you ever started a book and didn’t finish it, now is the time to get it done. There are almost 400 books assigned to members in 2019 and before that are unfinished. Our Data Manager, Deborah, is currently contacting these members reminding them that either the book should be finished or we will unassign it.

Go through some of your favorite books, adding bookmarks, notes and photos if you have them. Jane personally finds it really helpful to go through a book or magazine and add the tag “I want to cook this” then when looking for a recipe she can narrow down the results to recipes she has already identified as of interest. As while you are going through your cookbooks and magazines you may be inspired to try some new dishes!

Helpful tips:

One of our members asked about putting in a section where they could make a comment about where their particular book was on their actual bookshelves. I suggested that she make a personal note on the book record as to where the book was located. For instance, bookcase one, third shelf, living room. Or if you just want to know a general location e.g. beach house or basement, create Bookmarks for those. These will help you find the book but also you can limit your search to just that location.

Gifting an EYB membership to a friend or family member who may be struggling to figure out what to cook is a wonderful idea. Ask them to send you photos of their cookbook collection. Make some excuse like “I can recommend some recipes for you if you let me know what books you own”. Then set up their Bookshelf for them and gift it to them. With Mother’s Day and Father’s Day coming up, now is a great time.

Please leave a comment if you have any tips that you would like to share!

Update 3/27/2024 – Other articles about new EYB features and more:

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  • FrenchCreekBaker  on  April 4, 2020

    I quit organizing because I moved in mid stream of adding books to my library and have not yet had the gumption to start the project over to figure out what is not yet loaded. I had over 400 done but many more to go. Any tips on fastest way to upload titles?

    How do people handle dealing with the many books not yet indexed they own? Just put those books on separate bookshelves?

    Good tips in this article about bookmarking!

    Thanks ❣️

  • okmosa  on  April 4, 2020

    Hi FrenchCreekBaker – You can use the ISBN number and import multiple titles at a time.

  • Jane  on  April 5, 2020

    FrenchCreekBaker – this is the Help section on adding books using the ISBN numbers. There are links there as well on adding the ISBN numbers using a barcode scanner.
    You don’t need to set up different Bookshelves for indexed and unindexed books. There are filters at top right on your Bookshelf Books tab that allow you to just see your Indexed books or your Unindexed books. In fact you actually want all your unindexed books on the same Bookshelf as you want the recipes in your searches as soon as the book is indexed.

  • hegasaer  on  April 7, 2020

    I’m absolutely new to EYB which I stumbled across while web-surfing.
    I have no real handle on its purpose or how it works I just KNOW it will be helpful in enabling me to access great recipes from my favourite magazine, Feast.
    Can you point me to a beginner’s guide to using EYB please!

  • Jane  on  April 7, 2020

    hegasaer – delighted to hear that you stumbled across EYB. For new members we recommend going through our Tutorials, accessed from the green Need Help? button at bottom right (not available on phones). We also have comprehensive Help pages including a Getting Started section and About Us that explains how the site works.

  • amandabeck  on  April 9, 2020

    It would be great if you could incentivize more people to rate and review recipes. This would make EYB a bigger value-add for paid subscribers. Perhaps you can hold back some of the cookbook copies you give away in lotteries on the blog and instead have a lottery for people who submit at least 5 or 10 recipe reviews per month…Kind of like Yelp Elite.

  • fairyduff  on  April 21, 2020

    I have a number of community published books without an ISBN, (fundraiser items at school fetes, church groups, etc.) I use the Enter Personal Recipes function to add selected recipes from these, and then they turn up in my ingredient searches! (When I have finished entering those, I am going to raid my recipe clippings in the filing cabinet.)
    Searching through EYB online recipes using EYB ingredient search has been helpful to locate long lost favourites. Yep, I’ve added them to my bookshelf, too!
    I love this website!

  • diamondkitchen  on  May 10, 2020

    In the Helpful Tips section of this post, you mentioned ways to locate our books on our bookshelves. I have another suggestion. It worked well for me. I own about 108 cookbooks, but just 25 of those are currently indexed by EATYOURBOOKS, so I have put a brightly-colored circular sticker on the spine of each cookbook and then placed them all on one shelf. That way it is easy to locate the book fast when I want to find a certain one. If another family member puts the book back on the shelf in an odd place, the sticker allows me to spot it quickly and once again place it within the correct cluster. If I choose to organize my books by categories, then the green stickers will still help me locate them even if they are scattered all around. The one drawback was that the stickers kept falling off the books that had slick dustcovers, so I placed clear tape on them to secure them, as they do in public libraries.

  • manycookbooks  on  May 12, 2020

    I currently have about 6,500 cookbooks, of which, 5,552 appear in EYB. It has been a terrific tool to have and I search it almost daily for recipe ideas, etc. As for the ones not on EYB (yet!), it’s the old-fashioned manual search for recipes. I have a great database for the books (, but can’t search for recipes, just book titles and a lot more info. I too, stumbled across EYB some years ago, accidentally and have never looked back. Not only incredibly useful but a bargain too!

  • rstaudt  on  May 30, 2020

    Is there any way to add books that I have checked out from the library to my EYB bookshelf temporarily (with a 3-week expiration)? I am lucky that our local public library has a superb collection of cookbooks and I often have 10-15 out at a time. However, it’s a real challenge to add them and then remember to delete them from EYB when they need to go back. And I would like to see them prioritized in my recipe searches so that I get a good taste of whether they are cookbooks worthy of a permanent home on my shelves. Any suggestions?

  • Tinluz18  on  June 3, 2020

    Love the idea… Cant fathom out how to use it!! Trying to add books to my bookshelf but doesn’t seem to search… Getting frustrated now! Help!! 😂

  • Jane  on  June 3, 2020

    Tinluz18 – I am emailing you with suggestions. But for other new members who have difficulties, try the green Need Help? button at bottom right (not on phones) for tutorials that walk you through the features. Or Getting Started in Help.

  • etcjm  on  June 5, 2020

    I have many random recipes which I’ve copied over the years, some I’ve cooked, some I haven’t. When I had some time at home last year, I scanned them in and saved them on my google drive (just with my camera on my tablet) and saved with a suitable name and in a suitable named folder. These recipes were more than likely not from a book I own, so when I search for a recipe which I know for a fact I’ve read somewhere I just search on EYB or my google drive. Little bit convoluted, but I got rid of a lot of bits of paper and magazine scraps and only kept physical copies of regularly used recipes. I just print it from google drive if I want to cook it, keep if it works, bin it and delete it if it’s a flop. You can even make notes like you can on EYB. I share my folders with my sons so they have access to recipes we use a lot. I like the other ideas of incentivizing reviews and the library additions. Love the website, use it regularly and have cooked many different things because of good reviews.

  • MarianneShirk  on  June 23, 2020

    I would love to see an option for a calendar so we could meal plan right on the site – it would integrate everything and we could add the recipes and grocery lists right there with the meal plan

  • Jenjeanh  on  August 8, 2020

    Some very good ideas here. I also have the issue of having so many community published books that will never be indexed but I would like to use more so I liked the suggestion to just add them as personal recipes

    As to temporarily adding library books, what a good idea, I love getting the books from the library to preview but never thought of adding them temporarily

    I would suggest adding a bookmark “library” when you add the title and then when you take them back you can limit your book search by bookmark “library” and just delete those

  • marthafan  on  August 16, 2020

    Well, what do you know!!! I have been a member for a few years now, and just today after reading the above on how to have EYB work better for you, I learned something very valuable. The “NOTES” section for each book. I think I had seen it before, but never questioned or even thought about it’s use. I love your idea on putting in the notes section, the book location. With having well over 1200 books in 2 different main areas (living room bookcases & “library” in my basement) sometimes it can be hard to remember exact location if a book totters on more than 1 category. I was going to suggest you develop a section or category for signed books. With more cookbook authors having book signing events, it would be nice to know instantly on what cookbooks are signed. Maybe I’m the only one who would like such a thing, which I guess I could utilize the notes section for this too. Thanks for being here though. You have no idea how helpful I have found this site to be and I am always singing your praises to others.

  • Jane  on  August 16, 2020

    marthafan – another option is to create your own bookmark “Signed” then add it to those books in your collection. If you need help on Bookmarks, look at tutorial #4 from the green Need Help? button at bottom right (not available on phones) or this Help section.

  • lorloff  on  September 5, 2020

    Hi all. I wanted to weigh in on the successful system I use to locate books. There are two tabs in the bookmark section of EYB. Every time I add a book to my collection I add a bookmark for the shelf that it is located on. For example I have floor to ceiling bookshelves just outside of my kitchen. I call these Cookbook shelves Left 1, 2, 3 ect or Basement front room shelf 4. It works really well I have over 1700 cookbooks. I also group the books in specific locations like having a separate set of cookbook shelves for my Asian book books – Asian cookbook shelf 3. The system works really well.

  • bbeckman  on  October 1, 2020

    What is the most efficient way to upload NYTimes recipes?

  • Jane  on  October 9, 2020

    bbeckman – you can use the Bookmarklet to index any NYT recipe. This is explained in Help. Though we already have more than 5,000 NYT recipes indexed so you may find those you want are already in the Library. You can also add any of the 9 indexed NYT columns to your Bookshelf.

  • demomcook  on  December 29, 2020

    When I was first adding my books, I took a photograph of a shelf of books and used that as a guide to add the books to EYB. I didn’t think about location at the time, so I still need to go back and add this information.

  • stockholm28  on  February 2, 2021

    For rstaudt’s comment about managing library books …

    I have a bookmark ”library” and a bookmark ”own” and every book has one of these bookmarks. This allows me to search only the books I have out from the library or only books I own.

  • Alisono  on  March 4, 2021

    I arranged mine by author and it worked really well until we moved house and they all got jumbled up! Inspired to reorganise when time permits. Thanks for the article x

  • metacritic  on  April 11, 2021

    Minor problems: There are too few serious reviews of cookbooks (most amount to one liners) – too few good blogs (most amount to throwaway declarations about what to cook or repeat better circulated essays).

    Major issues: There are far too few recipe ratings and comments. Select cookbooks attract a great many comments but many other serious cookbooks do not. And only slightly older cookbooks seem to have almost no reviews at all, even patron saints such as Paula Wolfert or Fergus Henderson or Alice Waters. I think that if you can’t solve for these issues, this site will never find a wider use even among serious amateur cooks and cookbook hoarders.

    I find the ability to search for recipes by ingredient very useful, the ability to see what other think of recipes useful but insufficiently developed (note that Chowhound and others offer better user bases quite often).

    A big step forward would be to stop charging membership and start obtaining revenue through ads. Or offer tiered membership in a manner that brings in more recipe reviewers but reserves other useful functions (search, for instance?) for paid subscribers.

  • Jane  on  April 11, 2021

    Thanks for the feedback metacritic. In reply:

    Yes, there are not nearly as many reviews of cookbooks as there are of recipes, probably because most of our members find the recipe reviews most useful so that is what they add. Maybe this prompt will encourage others to add reviews of their favorite cookbooks. If we had the resources we would add more outside reviews (which are under the Reviews tab) – one day!

    There are more than 100,000 recipe reviews on EYB and they reflect the recipes our members are cooking. I think it is a fact that many books by “patron saints” are bought and read but rarely cooked from (hence fewer reviews). Most EYB members are “serious amateur cooks and cookbook hoarders” and the recipes they enjoy cooking are the ones they review.

    Thanks for the advice on how to fund the site but I can assure you that we would not have lasted 11 years if we relied on advertising revenue. Sites that do get funded by ads have many millions of site visitors per month. We did run advertising for Free visitors (the vast majority of our site traffic) for several years and the income was so low that we dropped it as it slowed down page loading and the irritation of seeing ads was not worth the small revenue.

    Free members can add Notes to books and recipes now so the tiered membership already operates.

  • mzgourmand  on  April 12, 2021

    Hi Jane,

    Well, I am clearly not an early adapter but I just tried the bookmarks to csv feature & I LOVE it!! Thank you so much – the thoughtful improvement EYB keeps making are so useful!

  • KennethJames  on  April 12, 2021

    I would like to know if the ‘notes’ section can be utilized to further define a specific category. For example, it would be very valuable for me to search my cookbook collection for “boneless chicken breasts” verses the generalized category of “chicken breasts”. Since the dawn of COVID19, I have been attempting to streamline my grocery in-store shopping experience to items that are on sale. I was told by the butcher that the quantity of ‘on sale meats’ will be greater and a better chance of securing what you need. My plan involved coupling the grocery store iOS app declared sale item, with my collection indexed by Eat Your Books. However, it was ‘mission failed”, because of the generalization described above. Any thoughts on a possible of future solution?

  • dzeldaz  on  June 18, 2021

    Wow! I have learned so much from the article and from the comments. More ways for me to love EYB! (Thank you for not running ads. I would much rather pay the reasonable membership fee.)

  • acorgihouse  on  June 22, 2021

    I have been using EYB for several years. I have 214 cookbooks, and luckily most are indexed. I have a wall of shelves that is all cooking, cookbooks plus some magazines I want to keep, and some notebooks I’ve made of recipes from cooking classes, etc. I came here today to add a couple books I just bought, and saw this. I went back to my bookshelf, and used the sort function to put them in alphabetical order. I had them sorted by major topic, like veg or grill, but so many are multi topic. I then tried the “fad” sort by book color, thinking if they were otherwise random I could just pull one out to give me ideas, but then if I search a book by EYB, if I don’t recall the color of the book, I’m stuck. This coming weekend, I’ll alphabetize them, and I’ll have the site to use to make a new list when I add books. I’ll put the current list in my OneDrive, so I can pull it up when wondering “do I have this?” or “where is this?” It’s perfect, for me.

  • shaneandemma  on  October 9, 2021

    I think a random selection button would be awesome. Would let people go to some corners of their book and recipe collections that they have never visited or forgotten about.

  • Mermaidslayer  on  October 16, 2021

    Tell metacritic from me that the subscription model is perfect and I for one would hate EYB to be full of ads. Also I use EYB to find my recipes, not read other people’s opinions!

  • stulled  on  January 12, 2022

    Is there any reward for indexing a book? I think crediting an account with at least a few months of membership would make it more enticing and encourage more people to do it.

    • Jane  on  January 12, 2022

      Well the reward is that you get the recipes now available in your searches. Member indexing is not zero cost for EYB. In order to maintain the quality of our data we have Sydney proofreading every submission and giving feedback (except for expedited indexers who have done many books and don’t make mistakes). A book may just be owned by the indexer but still gets time and money spent on it to ensure the quality is good enough to be on the site. Add that cost to your proposed loss of revenue in exchange for the indexing of a book and member indexing becomes less attractive to us as a business. You could look at member indexing a different way – that EYB allows members to use our database and indexing tools so members can create a complete index of all their books. There are sites out there that charge for that service!

  • ingriddeheer  on  February 7, 2022

    A menu planner and shopping list would make eyb complete!

  • Sleeth  on  March 2, 2022

    I like searching by ingredients… but it would also be nice to EXCLUDE certain ingredients during a search.

    • Jenny  on  April 7, 2022

      To exclude certain ingredients – see this help section.

  • Sladea86  on  May 25, 2022

    Personally I am happy to pay the small fee and do not want to bombarded by ads or stalked around the internet because of cookies. EYB is useful as it is other peoples reviews maybe interesting but most of the time I just want to find a recipe based on what I have in the fridge and from my veg box.

  • anniette  on  October 1, 2022

    Would love to be able to make a “Short List”

    I wonder if it might be possible to add another function to make a recipe search even more useful, please?

    When I want to try a new dish, I start by searching EYB. I might get a list of 183 possibilities in my cookbooks (I like to use the filter, “book recipes only”). I then read through the list and may spot a dozen or fewer that sound most like what I am looking for. I then try to remember all of those as I go to my cookbook shelves to have a close look at the likely recipes.

    I would like to be able to select the dozen or so recipes that most appeal to me from the long list of 183 recipes, and make a new “short list”. Then I could more easily keep track of the fewer books I am actually physically looking for, and could more easily compare those dozen listed recipes to each other.

    Is this something that might be feasible, please?
    Thank you. Love EYB!

  • MargaretN  on  October 8, 2022

    On my iPhone if I go to check the EYB library it throws me back to the sign in page. Can you please tell me why this is happening? By the way, I just love EYB. With over 1200 books I now can use them all. Many thanks. Margaret

    • Jane  on  October 10, 2022

      Hi Margaret – apologies for the delay in my reply. When any member has issues on the site it is much better to email us. I cannot see any reason why you are having the issue you mention. I cannot replicate it and no other member has reported the issue so it may be caused by your browser. Try clearing your browser cache/history then do a hard refresh on the EYB Library page. If you still have the problem, please email us with details of the browser you are using.

  • lorloff  on  October 8, 2022

    I highly recommend using the bookmark feature for books to track the location of your cookbooks. I have well over a 1,000 and it works really well I create a location bookmark for each shelf and bookmark the books location. It has worked really well, For example: Kitchen Asian bookshelves 1; Hall cookbooks shelves left 3

  • anniette  on  October 20, 2022

    When searching for recipes, soufflés for example, is it possible to specify sweet or savoury, without limiting to a certain course, please? Using the course filters seems to eliminate too many possibilities.

    Thank you.

    • Jane  on  October 20, 2022

      I can’t really think how you would do that without using courses. But I do understand the limitations of those since some savory soufflés are appetizers, some are main course, and some side dishes, depending on how the author has classified them.

  • Rella  on  May 12, 2023

    Re checking “I want to Cook this” is fine to check off, but how do you access these “I want to Cook this” without going to each book. i.e., perhaps I might have clicked a number of recipes for aloo gobi; then I would have to go to each and every one – or how would I know. I’ve tried to find a place to even ask this question previously, and couldn’t find a place to ask it. Perhaps this is not the place to ask?
    Probably I am not explaining well enough, but had to vent a bit. Thanks for reading!

    • Jane  on  May 18, 2023

      To view all recipes you have tagged as “I want to cook this” you apply that filter on your Bookshelf Recipes. The Bookmark filter is on the right on a laptop/tablet or under Filter menu on a phone. Then also enter “aloo gobi” in the search box and you will see all recipes across your entire collection.

  • ellwell  on  May 13, 2023

    I have saved 400 bookmarks of recipes I would like to cook. Is there any way to organize these bookmarks by book or by cuisine, or even course?

    • Jane  on  May 18, 2023

      Sorry, I’m not clear what you are asking here. Your bookmarks help you identify recipes across your entire Bookshelf by categories that are useful to you. If you want to just search in one book, enter the book title in the search box (put in speech marks to make results precise). In addition, EYB has filters that you can use to narrow down your search results by Recipe type, Special diet, Ethnicity, Meal/course and Occasion/season. If you are not familiar with filters, take a look at Tutorial #5, accessed from the green Need Help? button at bottom right (not available on phones) or this Help page. If you mean that you want your Bookmarks sorted by category, edit their names (the edit pencil is next to the Bookmark name) to have the first word be the category e.g. Course lunch, Course appetizer or Cuisine Thai, Cuisine Italian (though as I said EYB has already added tags for all indexed recipes). If I have misunderstood your question, please email us and I will try to help further.

  • FunkyViriditas  on  May 18, 2023

    One of my favorite ways to use EYB is this: when I get a new cookbook, I add it to my bookshelf and then click the tab to see who else has this book on their shelves. I choose two people, both who have a similar number of books that I have. I then, one at a time, click on their name. I click the button that shows which books we have in common. This is so much fun! Normally, I’ll have 1-2 pages of the same books, but once I had three pages of the same books as someone else. Then, I unclick that button. This allows me to see all of that person’s books, not just the ones we have in common. I look through the first page of their books. You can really tell a lot about a person from their cookbooks. The best part of this is that I discover new cookbooks that I would like to buy.
    One feature I would like to see is a wishlist tab. This would be cookbooks that the member would like to buy. I imagine this would eat up a lot of bandwidth though, lol.

  • lorloff  on  January 20, 2024

    I have been a member of EYB since almost the beginning and have effectively using bookmarks to identify on which shelf each book is stored and in which room. I have created book marks for each book shelf e.g. Den 3 = den shelf 3. Or kitchen Asian book shelves 2. In EYB When you find a recipe you want to look up in the book you click on the book title and it tells you the location of the boos as a book mark. With 1400+ cookbooks I can always find what I am looking for this way.

  • dabhander  on  January 25, 2024

    Hi, love the app, use it all the time, but can I make a plea for a tiny improvement? Currently if you do not find what you want on your own bookshelf you have to enter the same search terms again to search the library: it would be great if they were automatically entered in the library search box!

    • Jane  on  January 25, 2024

      I have passed this over to our developers to see how easy it would be to do. But can I clarify if you mean total Library (that you won’t have access to most of) or Library Online Recipes (where all recipes have a link to the full recipe)?

  • TBipp  on  February 1, 2024

    EYB does a great job at year end of providing many best cookbook lists of the year. I think it would be interesting to see EYB’s list of the 10 or 20 most commented recipes on in 2023.

  • christinezac  on  April 28, 2024

    An app that lets you meal plan for the week (with a widget!) 😉

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