Ultimate Blog Swap: Finding Cheap and Free Cookbooks

by Elizabeth on May 22, 2012 · 1 comment

in books, Frugality, guest post

Today I’m participating in the Ultimate Blog Swap. You’ll find me posting over at Mostly Food and Crafts sharing a new cupcake recipe, and I’m excited to welcome Anne from Quick and Easy, Cheap and Healthy because she’s talking about something I love – cookbooks! 

I love cookbooks. I love flipping through the pages, reading through ingredients, and choosing new recipes to try. Unfortunately, I only have room in my apartment to dedicate one small shelf to cookbooks, and that shelf is crammed full.

Which is why I am grateful I live in a digital age! I got a Kindle for my birthday, and after I downloaded a Bible or two, I got busy adding to my cookbook collection. No more worries about space!

What’s even better is that I don’t have to spend a lot of money building my digital cookbook collection. There are tons of super-cheap and free digital cookbooks available if you know where to look. You don’t really even need a Kindle or other e-reader to access them, either. Most e-books are also available in HTML, PDF or other formats that you can use on your computer or other device.


Whether or not you have an e-reader, you can take advantage of Amazon.com’s massive collection of e-cookbooks. Simply download the free app onto your computer, smartphone, or other device, and get ready to dive into the deep waters of free reading!

To get to the cookbook selection, go to the Kindle books category on Amazon, then choose “Cooking, Food and Wine”. Once there, select “Best Sellers”, and you’ll see a page with two columns: the books on the left are available for a price, and the books on the right are all free! Scroll down, and you’re sure to find something that catches your eye.

On a recent foray into the selection of free e-cookbooks, I stumbled across the following fascinating titles:

If you have a Nook instead of a Kindle, you can still get free e-cookbooks. On Barnes & Nobles “NOOK book” page, choose the category “Cookbooks”. Once the listing shows up, select “All NOOK Cookbooks” from the category on the left (or streamline the selection by choosing a different category). Then choose “Price: Low to High” on the “Sort By” menu. The free books will all show up at the top of the list.

Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg has been around since the dawn of the internet, and has been making pre-copyrighted materials available for free to the masses for years. Why pay $10 or more for a classic when you can read it for free online?

Cookbooks are no exception: Project Gutenberg has an extensive collection of cookbooks printed prior to 1923. It might be geeky of me, but I actually enjoy browsing through the vintage cookbooks and learning how previous generations cooked and baked. Some of my favorite recipes and cookbooks are vintage recipes from cookbooks such as these – you never know when you might find a real gem!

To get to the cookbook collection, click on “Book Categories” in the column on the left. Scroll down to the alphabetical listing, and choose “Cookery” under “C”. From there, the cookbooks are divided into 7 different categories: you can click on one that interests you, or browse through them all.

One of my favorites is The White House Cookbook, written in 1887 by Mrs. F. L. Gillette and Hugo Ziemann. Check out this subtitle: Cooking, Toilet and Household Recipes, Menus, Dinner-giving, Table Etiquette, Care of the Sick, Health Suggestions, Facts Worth Knowing, Etc., Etc. The Whole Comprising a Comprehensive Cyclopedia of Information for the Home.

Project Gutenberg offers a variety of ways to download your book, so you can choose one that fits your style: HTML, .TXT, Kindle, Nook, and more, are available.


Food and homemaking bloggers often produce their own e-cookbooks. Typically, these are available in PDF, Kindle, and Nook formats, depending on the blogger. Since this is a great way for bloggers to make money from home, there is usually a charge involved, but you can still get these great resources for free if you follow your favorite blogs faithfully and keep your eyes peeled.

For one thing, many bloggers (like myself) offer a free e-book when you subscribe to their feed via email or RSS. Currently, my friends and I are offering a free smoothie e-book to all subscribers. Usually, these free e-books can be found at the bottom of your regular email feed via a direct link to the book’s PDF file.

You can find out about these free e-books by following a deals blog like Money Saving Mom, Saving Naturally, or The Coupon Girl. These bloggers will write up a post whenever they are made aware of a new free e-book!

Additionally, the vast majority of bloggers market their e-books by giving away a certain amount of free copies on a variety of different blogs. If you don’t come across these giveaway contests very often, you can find them by browsing through a giveaway link- up, such as the ones featured on this list.


I would be remiss if I didn’t mention your local library! Of course, you can borrow physical cookbooks at your library, but most libraries now have a digital lending library as well. It goes without saying that you can’t keep these any more than you can keep the “real” thing, but it’s a great way to test drive new cookbooks and see if they’re worth your investment before you spend actual money on it.

Happy reading, and happy cooking! Now I’m off to browse through my now-fabulous Kindle cookbook collection.

Anne is the wife to a wonderful, caring husband and mommy to two wildly-tender little boys. She loves all things Jesus, music, natural, nutritional and chocolate. And coffee. She loves coffee. She was born smack dab in the middle of 10 children and loves being able to stand out amongst the big crowd with her corner of the blogosphere, Quick and Easy, Cheap and Healthy, where she blogs about how to make healthy food without losing money, time, energy… or your sanity. You can also follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest, where she posts the latest fun thing that catches her eye. 


Visit Life Your Way to see all of the Ultimate Blog Swap participants!

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