New website that indexes the recipes in YOUR cookbooks


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New website that indexes the recipes in YOUR cookbooks

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Out 6, 2009, 11:14 am

I have been an active member of LT since May '07 and a member of Cookbookers almost as long (I read every post). One subject that comes up a lot is how to find recipes in your own cookbooks, and how online recipe sites are so much easier to use. So I have come up with the solution - I have spent the last two years developing a website, Eat Your Books which indexes the recipes in your own cookbooks. You can now find recipes quickly and easily by author, book title, ingredients, recipe type, ethnicity, special diet, etc. We have a library of 16,000 cookbooks and we have already indexed the top 700 cookbooks of the last 15 years. One of the sources I used for coming up with the initial indexed list was LT members' tagged books so hopefully you will find most of your favorites have been indexed. If you do find that any favorites aren't indexed you can request them. You can check it out at Eat Your Books - it may be best to communicate your specific comments through the website. We have only just launched so are very open to suggestions, criticisms, and ideas for new features.

I did check with Tim first whether it was okay to post this and he said "Just be considerate, helpful and engage in conversation not promotion" so hopefully I've done that as this is really to let fellow cookbook lovers know about a useful new service rather than spamming.

Out 6, 2009, 11:49 am

A very nice idea - I wish you every success. Being curious, there is one question I didn't find the answer to on a quick glance round the site, but perhaps it is your trade secret: how do you go about the indexing?


Out 6, 2009, 11:51 am

It also occurred to me that it would be nice if a cookbook collection could just be exported from LT into EYB.


Out 6, 2009, 11:55 am

This is strikingly familiar. See the post two rows down from here.

Out 6, 2009, 12:03 pm

Vaneska - the indexing is done by manually going though the cookbook and entering the relevant details for each recipe (very time-consuming and expensive, which is why this is not a free site). I agree it would be good to export data from LT to EYB, particularly with cookbook collections as huge as yours. I'll let you know when it is possible.

angray - yes I did read your post though I can assure you that Eat Your Books has been two years in development and is not a response to your website! We are rather different in that we have indexed the cookbooks so there is a huge searchable database (173,000 recipes already) that is growing daily. I wish you the best of luck with cookbooker - I think we are offering rather different services.

Out 6, 2009, 12:09 pm

> 4

Please be aware that what is "two rows down from here" changes over time, and also depends on what groups the viewer follows and whether they are looking at "all groups" or "your groups". It's probably best to provide a link to the post to which you refer.

Editado: Out 6, 2009, 3:42 pm

Sorry about that. I meant to clarify my post with an edit, but I'll just do it here. I didn't mean mine to seem so blunt, but I was getting on a bus when I posted (an iPhone is often too handy...)

The post I referred to was regarding, a similar recipe indexing and reviewing website.

What I'd have said, had my bus not arrived at that moment, is that it's remarkable how certain ideas are just 'in the air' at the same time. Obviously we both had the same insight a couple of years ago, janeekelly, and have both been hard at work ever since. Hopefully this means it was a good idea (there's nothing like being the only one doing something to make you wonder if you're misguided)!! I've had a look at your site too and I think it's a nice looking piece of work. Best of luck to you also - we do look to be taking different approaches to the problem, and like Library Thing and the other book-focused sites, I'm sure the Internet is big enough for several of these. For example, there's also cookstr (, which publishes sample recipes from commercial cookbooks.


Out 6, 2009, 3:02 pm

I mentioned this through your contact form as well, but requiring my full name is a dealbreaker for me, and there doesn't appear to be any reason for it.

It would also be nice to be able to at least see what books are indexed without signing up, but I suppose that's what the trial is for.

Out 6, 2009, 3:12 pm

lorax - sorry to hear you had a problem with the requirement for your name when registering. Only your username would actually appear anywhere on the website - your full name is only for our own communications to you. But maybe we should reconsider it. Do other LT members have a problem with putting their name on a registration form?

Out 6, 2009, 5:14 pm

For what it is worth - I almost never register at sites that require my full name. If I decide, I might enter it later on but for a trial, a username should be more than enough....

Out 6, 2009, 5:22 pm

I'm not a fan of free sites requiring a full name. But since this site requires money after the 30-day trial, is there even a way to pay without revealing a full name?

Out 6, 2009, 7:46 pm

AnnieMod - We will definitely review requiring a full name on registration. We did quite a bit of research before we designed our registration page and most websites seemed to require names (I know LT doesn't). Our only justification was to be able to be more personal in our dealings with members - "Hi abc123" just doesn't seem as friendly as "Hi Annie".

kristenn - the payments are all done through Paypal - i.e. remote from the website. So we don't store any of the information you give them.

Editado: Out 6, 2009, 8:15 pm


Some people find "Hi Annie" preferable. Some find it invasive. I know that you don't know me personally, and find the pretense, frankly, twee. (I don't like it when cashiers address me by name after looking at the name on my credit card or ID, either.)

I notice that you have a relatively common name -- I wonder if that's part of it? You can assume people don't necessarily know that the "Jane Kelly" on eatyourbooks or on librarything is the Jane Kelly they know. My name is pretty uncommon, so I can't have personalization and anonymity at the same time. Just a guess.

Out 7, 2009, 6:34 am

>12 janeekelly:

Annie is not even my full first name as written in my passport and credit cards - I am Bulgarian and even if my name is common here, it is not that common in the outside world. And I prefer not to have it in most places - I want to have the choice to call myself Annie or AnnieMod or whatever I want until I decide to pay for some services (but even then, I would prefer to have a choice how to be called and if my name is to be used anywhere).

Why instead of Full name you do not add a "Name for e-mail correspondence" or something with default being the username? This will also make sure that the user specify if they want to be called Dr Roberts or John or whatever they prefer. That will solve the problem with how to call people -some people may find that using just a first name is offensive.

Out 7, 2009, 7:17 am

> 1

Janee, I went to have a look, and have a couple of comments:

I can't see what your '16,000 books' are unless I register. Since I am from the UK, I suspect you have few or none of my books listed.

And why on earth have you done all the work, when your users will do it for you? I love the idea, and would happily enter details from my cookbooks (that's assuming that you have considered copyright issues) for the general good, just as I enter book details here on LT.

Last point: EYB would let me have all I need to know about my printed cookbooks, but I have hundreds of flagged recipes on online recipe sites, so if I really want to check what I can do with chicken thighs, apricots and coriander I would still have to check several places. Can you provide similar info for them? (I note that does something of this sort.)

Out 7, 2009, 8:12 am

> 14
Your idea of "Name for email correspondence" sounds a good one, giving members the option of staying anonymous if they prefer.

> 15
Yes, at the moment you do have to register to see the books but it is free and there is no commitment. We do actually have quite a few UK books as although we have initially launched in the US, I and my partner in EYB (my sister), are Brits (relocated respectively to Boston and NZ). We do plan to launch in the UK next year when we will add a lot more British books.

If members want to volunteer to input recipes, that is great and we welcome it (I had a couple of volunteers through LT yesterday). However, a lot of people don't have the time or inclination to do it.

There is no copyright issue as we don't replicate the recipes - there are no quantities, methods or store-cupboard ingredients listed. You already own the recipe in your cookbook so EYB is a quick way to find it. The cookbook publishers are completely supporting the site as for them it enhances the value of their cookbooks if they are searchable.

We only just launched the website but we have lots of ideas for additional features. One is the ability for members to enter "personal recipes" - family recipes, clippings, and there is no reason why recipes on online sites could not be included.

Out 7, 2009, 8:25 am

> If members want to volunteer to input recipes, that is great and we welcome it

That's great! I suggest you add it to your FAQ. I'm away from home until the weekend, but have bookmarked the site and will likely get stuck in then. I do have a number of elderly and mildly rare books, and I will very much welcome the possibility of including them.

Out 7, 2009, 6:11 pm

This sounds great! I'm going to visit Eat Your Books right now.

Out 7, 2009, 6:52 pm

I signed up for the trial, don't have much time to play there right now, but I'll give it a go later. Thanks.

Out 7, 2009, 10:57 pm

> 12

I, for one, hate it when people I do not know call me by my first name - on a web site or in person. Southern upbringing, donchaknow. I honestly don't understand why websites bother to ask for information like that - I think we're all used to receiving emails to our usernames, or Dear Member. I fill in those forms with firstname: MsSmith, or MsTimepiece, or something less jarring than a first name I don't use much.

I particularly dislike people who take upon themselves to use a nickname when I have provided a full name. OK, derail, hobbyhorse, signing off now.

Out 8, 2009, 5:33 am

I won't give out information about myself on the web unless I think it is to my advantage. If a site demands information I don't think they need, I don't use that site.

Out 8, 2009, 12:54 pm

Agree that there are just too many intrusive and unnecessary requests for information on line. As a result, I have developed my own "avatar" for these questions, with a totally separate personna--name, birthday, etc. Do I skew the demographics when I use a zip code from an address 20 years old or include my father's birthdate as my own? Probably, but if I wouldn't just tell any stranger on the street some of this info, why would I share it with a website that has absolutely no purpose for the info, other than their own interests?

Out 8, 2009, 5:21 pm

Oh, and I particularly love the ones that ask for a phone number. Seriously, I can understand the email address for communication demands, but why would a web-based company need my phone number? I take great glee in providing 914-555-1212. Amusingly, no one (that I've encountered, so far) has set up any kind of check to reject 555 numbers.

Oh, and when they demand it in a certain format - I have rudimentary programming skills at best, but even I could make a script to strip out extraneous punctuation marks. Let people use parentheses, or hyphens, or dots, or whatever their little hearts prefer ....

Out 8, 2009, 5:21 pm

Does this site work yet? I registered, logged in and tried to look at EYB's Library but it just asks me to register. I'd love to see what books are available there or how it works, but can't get it to work.

Editado: Out 8, 2009, 5:37 pm

> 24
Yes the site has been up for a month and is working well so I'm sorry to hear you are having a problem logging in. We don't have you registered, so you don't seem to have completed the membership process. If you would like to email me at I will talk you through it.

I'm not ignoring all the other comments about wanting anonymity - just waiting for a consensus, which so far seems to be strongly against anything beyond username and email address. What about location as we hope in the future to add notifications about cookbook author tours?

Out 9, 2009, 1:03 am

I'm also having trouble logging in ... I created an account and verified it with my email address but now it doesn't recognize me.

Anyway... interesting site...

I would like to see (I didn't see it when I was able to log in but I cant log in to check... )a way to batch import cookbooks though.. I have quite a few that I already hand entered into library thing and I'm not keen on re-entering them all again.

Out 9, 2009, 2:28 am

Anything besides username and password should be voluntary. I have my location entered on LT because it gives ME value. Even an e-mail should be voluntary. Why make us make up fake ones?

Out 9, 2009, 2:11 pm

>26 Emidawg:
Your EYB membership is active and approved so I don't know why you are having an issue logging in. Try clicking "Forgotten your password?" on the log-in page in case there is a typo there. You will get an email straight away and can reset your password.
If anyone else has any issues they will get a faster response by emailing EYB direct rather than posting here as I'm on EYB all the time (apart from a few hours sleep) whereas on LT sporadically.

We are working on a batch import from LT (and other cataloguing sites) - hope to have it up next week. I will post here when it is.

Out 9, 2009, 8:08 pm

After reading this thread I'm tempted to just provide the site with a pseudonym. It might be the easiest way around the requirement.

Out 11, 2009, 7:04 pm

I registered and entered around 130 books into and absolutely love it! There for the first time are almost 20,000 recipes from my own books along with shopping lists to print out. I can set up menus and note recipes to make later. I can search by type of food (i.e. cobblers, crisps and crumbles) or by ingredient (i.e. apples, pork, whatever). It is even possible to look at books which I don't own (yet) and scan the recipe titles for items of interest and buy the book right there from Jessica's Biscuit.

It gives me such a hollow feeling to be using iffy Internet recipes when I could/should be using one of my own treasured cookbooks but don't for lack of browsing time or because I'm at work. Now the problem is solved. And surprises abound, i.e. who'd have gone to Back to Square One for a creme brulee recipe or Marcella Hazan for meatloaf?

One Happy User

Nov 16, 2009, 1:36 pm

I see it's been more than a month now, and the site still requires a full name. Too bad none of the arguments in this thread seem to have made an impact.

Nov 16, 2009, 7:53 pm

Yes, sorry about that. We have been having problems with our developers not getting changes to the site done as quickly as we'd like with the result we have changed developers. I will post here as soon as the registration page is changed.

Nov 17, 2009, 10:23 am

It's an interesting site. I had no problems registering and making up such information as requested.

However, as suspected, the range of entered books in insufficient. I have a somewhat random selection of cookbooks I've picked up here and there, so I wasn't expecting many authors to appear. And they don't. But even the famous bigname authors didn't always appear, and when they did, the featured books weren't mine. And in anycase they weren't indexed - which rather defeats the point.

What's the projected timescale for indexing all the books?
What's the proposed total number of cookbooks that will eventually be added and indexed?

When you get yoru UK push done and indexed, do post back here, and I might try again. It seems like it could be good.

Nov 17, 2009, 3:55 pm

>33 reading_fox:
Thanks for your feedback. We currently have 16,000 cookbooks on Eat Your Books but we realize this is not close to the number that have been printed so we will be adding the facility to import books from an online book seller (not amazon). Part of that feature will allow members to add details of books that are not even available through the online seller.

As far as indexing goes it is not feasible to index every single cookbook. It costs more to index one book than the price for a lifetime EYB membership so we anticipate that we will be indexing the most popular books - i.e. those we get most index requests for. Members are able to request that we index any book in the EYB library - so the more requests we get, the higher up the list it goes. We are also adding newly published cookbooks as they come out. We will carry on adding indexed cookbooks for ever - both older and new titles - so I cannot give you a number. Currently we have 757 indexed, which is more than 185,000 recipes, but more are added every day.

You can also index your own books as a volunteer - quite a few members are doing that. That means your books, particularly the more unusual ones, get indexed much more quickly.

I'm concerned that you couldn't find famous bigname authors as we have over 9,000 authors on the site. Could you mail me, either through LT or EYB to let me know who you think is missing?

I didn't get your reference to the UK. We are initally aimed at the US market, so most of the books are American (could that be your issue finding books and authors?). We plan to launch in the UK next year, when a lot more British books will be added.

I really appreciate the feedback.

Mar 31, 2010, 8:33 am

I've been a bit confused by all the references to "launching in the UK". I mean the homepage doesn't make any reference to geographical restrictions, in fact the featured users are noticeable for their international locations (incl. England).

So I had a look when it was promoted to me and it wasn't ready for my UK cookbook collection (and it isn't easy to add books...why make me 'volunteer'...why not just provide an interface?) so the first impressions weren't that great.

And thanks to this thread I discovered Cookbooker. So I'll be interested when Eat Your Books "launches in the UK" (not sure how I'll find out about that though) but I'll probably have invested al ot of cataloguing effort into Cookbooker by then.

Mar 31, 2010, 12:51 pm


I wouldn't hold your breath. They're still requiring a full name to register, nearly six months after getting complaints about it and nearly five months after claiming they wouldn't do so any more. This is something that, unless they have the site set up completely bizarrely, would take about ten minutes to change. (If they're using your real name as an index or a key in their database, it would take longer.) I don't think the site is actually being developed, and I certainly don't think they're responsive to suggestions -- at this point, I really don't care anymore if they ever do decide to respect member privacy, because I'm so unimpressed by the site that I don't think I'd sign up anyway.

Abr 2, 2010, 12:08 am

Karen - we are currently setting up a data feed from a UK distributor which will add at least 40,000 UK cookbooks to the EYB Library. It should be up in a couple of weeks. We have members all over the world (35 countries so far) who have joined despite the current US-focus of our library, which as I said will change very soon. We also plan to add an inputting form on the website, both for books and for recipes, but that is a bit further off.

Lorax - luckily we have thousands of members who don't have a problem giving their full names, and the few that do just enter a letter. We are doing a huge amount of development of the website but you wouldn't be aware of that since you have never signed up. We have plenty of members who are delighted that they now have a searchable online index of the recipes in their cookbooks (now almost 250,000).

Abr 6, 2010, 12:32 pm


So, when you claimed back in November (post 32) that it was just that you were getting new developers and that you did in fact intend to change the registration page, that was just making stuff up, or what?

No, I haven't signed up. I never sign up for sites that request information that isn't actually required for their purpose. I don't use supermarket loyalty cards that track purchases, either. Sometimes this means I lose out on something interesting, or spend a few dollars more, but it's better than losing out on my principles. And sure, I could give it a fake name, but that would just be rewarding this sort of privacy-destroying intrustion, and I don't really feel like doing that.

Abr 7, 2010, 11:03 pm

lorax - I've got the message that you're not interested.

I'm not in the habit of making stuff up (is that your "polite" version of lying?). We did get a new team of developers and found we needed to do a lot more fundamental recoding of the website. It is still a beta site and so a lot of revision is going on as we discover what our members want. Your request wasn't at the top of our priorities. We plan to change the way in which the trial access is made and that will only require an email address and password. But we have some other major changes we are working on first, like vastly expanding the books library.

Abr 8, 2010, 4:18 am

Although I haven't signed up myself yet (more due to lack of time - I just about have time to check e-mails and LT), I don't see any problem. If someone doesn't find the site suitable (whether it's because of registration OR content), they don't have to sign up. It's as simple as that.

Abr 22, 2010, 2:20 pm

it is a wonderful site. Still growing but they did not have alot of my older cookbooks that I had. It takes a while to input all the info and they get most of their cookbook info from Jessica's biscuits. Project Foodie is wonderful because it allows you to save your favorite recipes from your magazines! Check it out!

Editado: Out 15, 2019, 6:40 pm

We heard about Eat Your Books in 2009; thought it was a good idea, looked, but we were not impressed enough to spend 2009 recession dollars. There weren't enough recipes that were indexed in our cookbooks.

Then in August 2019 we took another look and joined.

The bad:
586 of our LibraryThing titles with recipes are not on EYB. They are pre-ISBN, plus pamphlets, flyers and magazines, or those with ISBNs not on Amazon. BTW, on LT we treat periodicals as one title and not as issues (Bon Appetit from 1985-2019 is one LT work).
83 of our periodical titles are not on EYB.
722 of our cookbooks that are on EYB are not indexed.
Of the periodicals titles that have some indexing on EYB, well over half our issues are not indexed.

The good:
697 of our cookbooks are indexed on EYB.
14 of our cookbooks are "indexing now."
1 of those indexing now Antonio M. Gotto, Chez Eddy, we have submitted our member indexing for review. IOW, if a member really wants something indexed, the member can index it.
1 of 586 of the missing titles is next in our queue to request for us to index.
591 of our magazine issues have been indexed.
34 indexed blogs have been followed.
266,694 recipes in our EYB library have been indexed. The number is inflated by duplicates, particularly by America's Test Kitchen. (BTW, ATKLibrary has an interesting LT member page.)

EYB works very well. Search for an ingredient to use and get thousands of recipes. Get some ideas and add a second ingredient to the search. Narrow by type of recipe. Maybe add an ethnicity. Exclude words. We have been very happy. We have found recipes in books/issues that we didn't think to look in.

Isn't 266,694 recipes enough? Yes, but we are greedy.

And we have created a queue of titles for us to member index.

Take another look. EYB has grown up very nicely.

And when you do join or have already joined, take a look at books y'all share with us on LT and then member index our books.