If you like to cook – and maybe even if you don’t! – you probably have a pile of precious family recipes on index cards, passed down from your mother, grandmother, and other members of your family. Instead of letting them collect dust in an old recipe box, or get so worn out that you can’t even read them anymore, why not compile all those recipes into a beautiful cookbook to share with everyone in the family this holiday?
There are many online tools you can use to create a full-color cookbook featuring tantalizing pictures of completed recipes, or family pictures of everyone enjoying a meal together. We’ve analyzed seven of the top online book-creation sites so you can do a side-by-side comparison to see which makes the most sense for you. All of this information is based on a book approximately 8.5 by 11 inches in size – that’s the same size as a piece of computer paper, a great size for a cookbook.
Top 7 Online Cookbook-Creation Sites
|Mixbook||Yes||Yes||20||$19.99||$29.99||$6.99 USA/$10.99 CAN|
|Shutterfly||Yes||Yes||20||$24.99||$34.99||$8.99 USA/$6.99 CAN|
|Lulu||Yes||Yes||20||$15.95||$25.99||Softcover$3.99 USA/$4.99 CAN|
|Blurb||Yes||Yes||20||$19.95||$28.95||$7.99 USA/$8.99 CAN|
|Create My Cookbook||Yes||Yes for photos. Text is black on white.||up to 100||$19.95 (spiral bound)||$34.95||Custom charge for weight and address. Not revealed until after you enter your credit card number.|
|Bookemon||Yes||Yes||20||$13||$25||Softcover$3.99 USA/$11.99 CAN|
|CafePress||No||Cover only. Inside pages are black and white.||No min/max. Pricing here based on 20 pages.||$5.90 (spiral bound)||Not available||$5.25 USA/$11.00 CAN|
While for many of these companies the main differences appear to be pricing and shipping costs, their design programs and options vary quite a bit. You may want to check out a few different sites to see which you find easiest to use, and which templates you like best. There is no fee to start building a book with any of these sites.
Other Important Options To Consider When Using a Cookbook Creation Site
- Software Download? Unlike the other sites, Blurb requires you to download a custom software program rather than designing your book online, so this requires an extra step.
- What Binding? Hardcover books look more exquisite, and may be more durable. Softcover books are cheaper, of course, but they lack that heirloom-quality feeling. On a more practical note, the spiral-binding option offered by Create My Cookbook and CafePress may not look as pretty as hardcovers, but if you plan on putting your cookbook to heavy use, it may make it easier to keep the page open to the right recipe when you’re in the kitchen.
- Don’t Want Photos? Text Only Option: CafePress books are not intended to be photo books. The pages are not glossy, and the inside printing is only in black and white. So, CafePress is not a great option for a coffee-table-style cookbook, but it is a budget option if you want to move beyond recipe cards to compile a book of family recipes in text only.
The Bottom Line
No matter which program you use, a custom-made cookbook with recipes that mean something to you and your family members makes a beautiful gift that your family will truly treasure.
Christina Newberry is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in national and local magazines and newspapers. With a Bachelor’s degree in English and Anthropology from the University of Victoria and a Journalism Certificate from Langara College, Christina brings keen curiosity and the love of a good story to her work with HealthCastle.com.
Christina is a passionate traveler and urban gardener with an interest in vegetarian eating and making good, tasty food from scratch. Sharing lessons learned from her own experiences, Christina writes about lifestyle topics for HealthCastle, with a focus on eating well at home and on the road.