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Would you buy books from a dedicated local cookbook bookshop or buying online too convenient?   Go to last post Go to last unread
#1 Posted : Sunday, September 17, 2023 6:26:37 AM(UTC)

Hi all,

I've been reading recently about dedicated bookshops opening for example the ripped bodice which focuses on romantic novels.  
I know there are a few dedicated cookbook bookshops around the world but it seems there aren't many.
My question is do you think there is demand for more dedicated cookbook bookshops? And if so what would your ideal cookbook bookshop have? Apart from books obviously 


#2 Posted : Sunday, September 17, 2023 11:28:07 AM(UTC)

Hughe;45792 wrote:
… what would your ideal cookbook bookshop have? Apart from books obviously …

Proximity. For example, Books for Cooks (in London) is my closest dedicated cookbook shop I think but is 20 miles or so away and while it takes maybe 45 minutes to reach them by car from my house parking nearby is abysmal. If I use the Tube it would entail three different line and take nearly 30 minutes more. And twice as long as that it I were to trust to bus services. Then there is the return journey.

There is also the desire to reduce my carbon foot print and while my current vehicle is exempt from fees in London's recently introduced Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) I would still be contributing to the air pollution in that part of London and there maybe Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs)— where vehicles are excluded — but there are no easiiy accessible maps to locate them. The busses and Tube run whether or not I use them but so too Amazon logisitics and the Royal Mail.

Oh and Books for Cooks is located in an area of London I have no other reason to frequent. No special trip just to visit them.

Catalogue. Books for Cooks deliberately does not have an OPAC which means that one has to hope the book(s) wanted are in stock when visiting them.

Note this is not a bash Books for Cooks session merely anecdotal answers to the OP's question.

Then there is the meta question of "what is a book". Does ink on paper make it a book or electrons exciting a chemical reaction a book? Is one more desirable than the other? Sometimes ebooks are easier to use; for example one only needs the occasional few sheets of paper (to print a recipe on) or place some protective shield over a computer screen.

For the moment it is Amazon, Apple Books. (for out-of-print reference books), my local library's online access to various publishers backlists (Oxford University Press for example and its Companion series) which I can access for free as a member of the library, and rarely some "grey" sources when acquiring or using recipe books.

#3 Posted : Sunday, September 17, 2023 2:59:08 PM(UTC)
I am fortunate to have a serious well rounded bookseller a few blocks from home. Superb children’s section, non fiction and curated fiction, hardback and SoftBank. An adult eye candy store:) and superb cookbooks.
Yes, the books are priced higher than Amazon. I have to watch my pennies but also want to support this indie merchant. So I make a point of saving so I can purchase. Every now and then from this bookseller. If I purchase a Kindle or Apple digital book I will also purchase a hardcover copy of my favorites from this bookseller. My conscience demands I do what I can to support our neighborhood merchant
#4 Posted : Wednesday, September 20, 2023 2:05:29 AM(UTC)
I'm very lucky to live about 10 minutes from Book Larder in Seattle, which is a fantastic shop with a great selection and many of the attributes that are ideal for a cookbook-focused store : helpful and passionate staff, great author events, and cooking classes (though I don't personally partake of those). When we lived in the Bay area I regularly visited Omnivore Books, similarly delightful (with an an additional focus on vintage books, not my thing but I'm sure a great selection if you're into it). I think what both of these stores have in common is a location in a dense urban area populated with people who are interested in food and have high incomes.

That said, I don't do all of my cookbook shopping at Book Larder -- Seattle has many fantastic bookstores, and I try to support them by buying from all of the ones that are in my general vicinity (I choose not to buy books on Amazon, and I recognize I'm privileged to be able to take that stance). So even though Book Larder is fantastic and I visit them regularly, they are only part of my bookstore "diet". :-)
#5 Posted : Wednesday, September 20, 2023 8:55:36 PM(UTC)

Our nearest cookbook shop is Now Serving LA, but we are in the next county, there’s no decent public transportation, and it would be an hour drive— so I order books from our local indie bookshop or Barnes & Noble, which I gather is kind of one of the main forces keeping Amazon from almost completely taking over the book world. I want to keep bricks & mortar bookshops in business because they are some of my favorite places— it’s worth a bit extra on the cost of the books since it’s not like I’m buying them every day. It’s worth it to be able to browse (and buy a Butterbeer Latte or whatever on Harry Potter’s birthday and see the shop full of kids, including my own, in full Hogwarts regalia.). I should add, if (like me) you’re not into buying your books from Amazon, is a great resource for audiobooks and it gives some of the money to the indie bookshop of your choice. I should also add, I look at the customer reviews on Amazon, and then I know what I want to find or order at the local bookshops.

#6 Posted : Thursday, September 21, 2023 8:01:18 AM(UTC)

Having just visited the wonderful Kitchen Arts & Letters in NYC yesterday (I highly recommend for anyone visiting the city) I realize the most important part of visiting a cookbook store, for me at least, is a knowledgeable, engaged staff who are happy to talk me through what's new, unusual or of special interest. This has been the case for me when visiting Omnivore Books in San Francisco, Book Larder in Seattle and Kitchen Arts & Letters. That expertise always makes it worth paying more than online booksellers.

#7 Posted : Friday, September 22, 2023 3:23:52 PM(UTC)
Now Serving LA is also my closest cookbook shop. It's an hour away so I rarely visit in person but I do order cookbooks from them whenever I can. This means I'm usually paying more than Amazon and might not be able to afford to purchase as many books but I think it's worth it to support a local, small business. I watch for their sales and always check out their "shopworn" books that are at a reduced price. I love that they have a lot of authors in for live events and, during the pandemic, made them available via Zoom. They carry some nice little cooking tools, aprons and condiments that are always fun to check out when I'm in the store.
Wish they were closer, but that might be deadly to my budget!
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