September 30

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EatYourBooks Website Review + Voucher

By Mashav Shelef


Note: this article is not sponsored. I paid the full price for the premium membership of eatyourbooks.com and these are my honest impression and opinions on the website:

With eatyourbooks I’m a lot more excited to use my cookbooks and able to search through a recipe database that I already own. I can search by ingredients, books, ratings, and many other categories. Hopefully, this guide helped you too to get your cookbooks bookshelf used a lot more!

I had some time off these past few months and I started cooking a lot more for my family. And so, I was looking for some new and interesting ways to use my pantry items and odd frozen stuff.

If you’ve been to my kitchen-studio, you’ve instantly noticed my collection of cooking books (which I absolutely love). Usually, I use these cooking books to get inspiration and new ideas. But sometimes, when it’s more of a practical search for a recipe, I’ve found myself more often searching google instead. Why is that?

The process of looking through my cookbook library for a recipe is flawed:

  1. I usually look for a specific dish or an ingredient
  2. Counting on my memory of where is that recipe, I remember seeing somewhere sometime
  3. There’s no quick and easy way to cross-search all the books I own (and I live by quick and easy these days).
  4. I usually use at least 2-3 similar recipes to make one recipe of my own

Well, you see my point and probably many of you had the same problem yourselves. And this is why I result in many times to Googling a dish/ingredient instead.

But Googling a recipe also has it’s cons:

  1. There are just too many recipes that it’s overwhelming.
  2. Hard to tell which would be a good one to try.
  3. Trying to find a recipe with more than 2 specific ingredients doesn’t work so well
  4. Sometimes I wonder if the better-picture-taking-bloggers really do have better recipes. (Which they probably don’t but I always gravitate to these since, well, I’m a visual person.)
  5. I have a whole library of acclaimed chefs, best-rated cookbooks, and personal favorites right here at home but I can’t really tap into all this well-of-knowledge to find what I’m looking for.

I just wished my whole library was indexed, and that I can search it as easily as I used google.

Before going through the whole process of indexing the entire thing by myself, I decided to pause and look for a hack online. It seemed like this might be a problem many have faced before me.

I did my research and found a pretty cool option. It’s not perfect (and I’ll tell you why in a bit), but it was by far the quickest way to get access to as much information for a very fair price. (Took about 30 minutes of work):

The steps I took to hack my cookbook library:

  1. Created an account in Eatyourbooks.com
  2. Paid for a membership ($30 a year)
  3. Added 59 of my cookbooks to my “Bookshelf” (I did find most of my books, except 5-6, mostly books in Hebrew or French)
  4. Out of these 59, 42 were already indexed on the website. I know it’s not all of them but more than 70% isn’t bad. (Most of the non-indexed books are more guides, tips, and flavor matching book of sorts, so I was missing only about 10 books with actual recipes).
  5. I requested the un-indexed books to be indexed (wishful thinking but maybe in a bit, they will be indexed). There’s also an option to self-index for those who wanted to (I did not yet read what it entails exactly).
  6. That’s it! I’m done.
Bookshelf eat your books
My Virtual Bookshelf

And now, I tested my new way of searching for a recipe:

  1. When searching for any ingredients or a dish that I want – it gives me a list of recipes with the name of the book and page number from my library.
  2. To help me choose a recipe, I can sort the results by name, author, rating, date, etc.
  3. I can further filter the results by several categories like recipe, course, cuisine, cooking style, and more.
  4. After choosing a recipe, I can open the recipe page and see a list of the ingredients for that recipe, pictures if there’re any (users can add their photos as well), a link to the full recipe if it exists online, notes that users left, rating and tags. That’s pretty amazing!
  5. Another cool feature is that I can add any recipe to my shopping list. The shopping list will update according to the recipes I need, and I can sort it, print it, and go grocery shopping with it. Pretty neat.

All this was pretty impressive at first sight. I wonder how handy it will come to be in the next few months. I especially like being able to see other people’s notes on a specific recipe. It looks like there’re many more features to discover still: bookmarking books I want, monthly new book recommendations, adding your recipes, and follow cooking blogs.

see notes and rating
Notes feature

I’ve also found this platform very convenient combined with copymethat.com – I use this remarkable website to keep all my recipes. But this is a topic for another post!

Some cons of Eatyourbooks.com:

  1. Not all books can be found, and many still aren’t indexed. You’d be better off if your bookshelf consists of the most popular books in English. Other cases are less than optimal.
  2. The ingredient list is not whole. The essential pantry items are marked as store-cupboard ingredients without details and no amounts listed.
  3. You can’t scale a recipe up and down before adding to the shopping list.
  4. If you decide to stop paying, all your information would be gone. I think. (Unless you can export it somehow.)
shopping list
Website created a shopping list

Conclusion

All in all, I am pretty happy with this solution, hoping it would get better with time and a growing community. I decided to share this discovery with everyone I know because I think it’s simple but gives a lot of value and can help many other cookbook nerds like me out there.

I feel like now I am a lot more excited about using my cookbooks, and expending my collection, because I know I would be able to use it better when I need them. Hopefully, this guide helped you too to get your cookbooks bookshelf used a lot more!

Eat Your Books respond and clarifications:

I emailed Jane, Eatyourbooks Co-founder and she was so nice to respond to all my concerns. This is her clarifications:

  1. Not all books can be found and many still aren’t indexed.  If you own any books that you cannot find in the EYB Library then you can request that it is added by importing the ISBN number in Import Books (on the My Bookshelf tab). We import the data from Amazon – if Amazon does not have the book listed then we cannot add it at this time.
    Regarding that many are not yet indexed – yes the majority of the books listed in the EYB Library are not yet indexed. However, the 9,184 books indexed so far are the most popular books, representing around 65% of the average member’s Bookshelf. The unindexed books are owned by fewer members – so it will take a long time to get them all indexed (and some may never get indexed). Member indexers are stepping up to index the less-popular books they own – around 30% of the books indexed are done by members.
  2. The ingredient list is not whole. When we started indexing cookbooks we did think long and hard about the store-cupboard ingredients. We decided that since they were such a large part of many recipes but were unlikely ever to be used in searches, that it made more sense to save the time and expense of adding those ingredients and instead index more books. The ingredient “store-cupboard ingredients” is only added when a large percentage of the recipe is store cupboard e.g. for a cake or cookie. We are currently developing increased automation of our indexing which will allow us to add all ingredients and quantities.
  3. You can’t scale a recipe up and down.  Again, the automation will allow us to have scaling as quantities will be added. It will take quite a while though to go back and add quantities to all the books already. Because the automation requires a PDF of the book we may not be able to add quantities for older books.
  4. If you decide to stop paying, all your information would be gone. We do not delete members’ Bookshelves after their membership expires unless they explicitly ask us to. Some members come back after they realize how much they miss it! Once they rejoin their Bookshelf is exactly as they left it. 

Exclusive Eatyourbooks free month coupon code

Jane also thought my readers will be delighted to get a discount code and join the eatyourbooks community. If you want to try eatyourbooks premium membership, use this voucher coupon code to get a free month: CMS20

Mashav Shelef


I’m a trained chef, a food writer, a culinary traveler, a food explorer and a mom. My mission in life is to inspire and motivate people by helping them experience life through food.

Mashav Shelef

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    1. Hi Elizabeth, the recipes aren’t there, they’re in your cookbooks! The website indexes the ingredients and the title, and it makes it easier for you to find the recipes that you have in your books. If all these recipes were available online for free, why would anyone buy a cookbook? 🙂

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