Books & Restaurants,  Reviews

55 Knives (e)Cookbook

I get a lot of offers to “participate in something exciting” which usually isn’t either exciting or really an offer.
Most of the time, these “offers” are a thinly veiled way of saying, “Hey, I like your stuff, gimme some free recipes and photos and in return I’ll ‘promote’ you while I make all the money and you do all the work.”

Ummm…no thanks.

Sometimes though, these requests turn out to be the real deal. Last year I was approached by fellow blogger Nick from who asked if I would like to contribute to a cookbook he was putting together with recipes from a total of 55 bloggers (hence the name “55 Knives”). The difference here is that he wasn’t just asking for free stuff and for other people to do all the work.

First and foremost this was a labor of love and his focus was not only on great recipes, but on the stories which go with them. In addition, the book is fully interactive and searchable with links that take you right to the recipes and, if online, directly to the blogs, Facebook Fan pages and Twitter pages of the authors. Oh yeah, and did I mention he was willing to share the wealth? Everyone who participates and sells a book via their blog gets a healthy share of the profit.

So, why an e-book as opposed to a printed-on-paper book? I asked that question myself because I’m still a fan of the traditional cookbook.

Nick said (both in emails and on his blog) that because he didn’t have a publisher and self published books of this size can be very expensive, he thought it would be better to make it easier and less expensive. In addition he wanted “the book to be a two-way street.  I wanted the reader to be able to find out more about one of the authors or touch base with them easily with just a few clicks.  That’s all very possible with an electronic book.” As I said above, the book is also searchable and easy to navigate with Quick Links built right into it. This may well be the future of cookbooks, especially for gadgets like the iPad.

I’ve seen the book and it’s great! There are fantastic recipes, wonderful stories, and many of my favorite blogs have contributed like Chez Us, Spinach Tiger, and Summer Tomato.

So, how much?  The final price will be $19, but for the first week it’ll be $5 off, making it only $14.  The book is 174 pages and if you don’t like it, it’s fully refundable. If you want to find out more, click on the image below to see a sample or buy the book! 


  • Charles G Thompson

    Nice idea! I just bought the book. It looks really great, a lot of wonderful recipes, and the best part: I actually personally know a number of the bloggers (like you!) Congrats on being part of this.

  • Tiffany

    eBooks are so great! I love my cookbooks and my favorite thing about them is the stories. They must have a story.
    It gives a thrill to see someone you’ve spoken to in print. (Not that talking to you isn’t in print, too :P)

  • Adam

    That’s really neat!

    Have you thought about (or rather, talked to Nick about) the possibility of setting up a Print-on-demand option? My understanding is that this is now pretty affordable through sites like I bet that even i you charged a premium for the print option, it would get you some sales to people who just really want to have a physical book, especially for something like a cookbook.

    • formerchef

      Adam- Yes, I thought the same thing and mentioned this to Nick. I’m a huge fan of self published books on and have made 3 myself. I think the issue is cost. I know my 116 page book (hardcover) cost over $50, not including shipping. This cookbook is 175+ pages so my guess is that it would probably be cost-prohibitive even in soft cover.

      • Nick

        Heya! yea… it’s mainly a cost issue. Depending on demand, I might offer it. Most people seem fine with the e-version though.

        In general I think people are enjoying just being able to print out the things they want.

        Plus, I’d really have to reformat the whole thing for a printed copy. It’s specifically formatted to be read on a computer right now…

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