Best way to design and print a DIY cookbook?
November 9, 2014 4:09 PM   Subscribe

What is the best service or method for designing and printing about a dozen copies of a cookbook? Lulu? Amazon? iPhoto? Kinkos?

I'm spending Christmas with a family that does handmade/non-commercial gifts, and I thought it would be fun to take my groaning, disorganized folder of favorite recipes, type them up, and turn it into a little cookbook that I can give everyone a copy of. It would be great to be able to include some photos too.

In the past, I've made zines at the copy shop (admittedly, a long time ago), and there's always the option of printing the recipes out and sliding them into a plastic-sleeved photo album, but given the plethora of self-publishing and print-on-demand services out there now, is there perhaps a slicker way?

What software should I use to design my little book project, and how should I get it printed?
posted by toomuchkatherine to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
I used shutterfly when doing the same sort of thing for my mom a few years ago, and was very happy with them.

My cookie company that just closed put out our cookbook using lulu - it's great quality, but more expensive than shutterfly.

I'd recommend either of them!
posted by firei at 4:19 PM on November 9, 2014

Good and Cheap is a cookbook by Leanne Brown which she released under a "Creative Commons Attribution­ NonCommercial­ ShareAlike 4.0 license", which should mean that if you can find a way to edit the PDF you can keep the layout and photographs where they're appropriate but replace her recipes with yours, so long as the final book mentions that it's based on hers and you don't sell it commercially, and as long as you release your cookbook under the same license. It looks like the author would have intentionally chosen this license instead of a "NoDerivatives" one which would have made the book free but restricted people from making things based on it, so she probably intended for it to be possible for people to make their own versions. (You could email her and ask her to be sure, of course.)

The PDF is square, though, so I don't know if that would create any problems or costs in printing it. There may be other, similarly-licensed cookbooks out there too, I haven't tried looking.
posted by XMLicious at 4:40 PM on November 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

I've made several books with and have always been satisfied with the results. They don't have templates for cookbooks that I am aware of, but their layouts are easy to work with if you want to be creative.
posted by la_rousse at 4:44 PM on November 9, 2014 [2 favorites] is actually set up for doing this. It's fairly expensive, but I do believe they give volume discounts.
posted by holborne at 4:53 PM on November 9, 2014

I second shutterfly. I make several books a year with them and have been very happy with the results.
posted by saradarlin at 4:54 PM on November 9, 2014

Thanks for this ask, I've been thinking about collecting our family recipe's for a while too. I found Heritage Cookbook, which seems a little less fancy than Tastebook, though also less expensive.
posted by Runes at 6:26 PM on November 9, 2014

OK, you got me looking, and I found this article.
posted by Runes at 6:29 PM on November 9, 2014

I've also used Shutterfly with lots of success. Although, Shutterfly is very photo-based, so it works best if you have photos of some/all of the dishes. I am very guilty of posting everything I make to Instagram, so I had them handy. But if this would involve having to make everything over again from scratch just to get the pictures, it would not be so practical. :) Then again, it could also be fun to do the recipes intermingled with cute family photos from over the years, rather than pictures of the food itself.

Also - Shutterfly periodically does really good discounts (like 40% off) as well as Groupons that can be as much as 50% off. So it definitely makes sense to make the books but then time the actual purchase for a time when they're doing a promotion.
posted by rainbowbrite at 12:08 PM on November 10, 2014

I did this a few years ago (to great acclaim). The cheapest, yet most time-consuming method is Kinko's -as you probably know from producing your 'zine. We were exchanging stocking stuffers at the time, so I set up the book to print 4 copies on one page and then cut the pages, collated them and bound them at Kinkos.

My aunt also gave out recipe books - she purchased small photo albums and slipped in an index card with each recipe handwritten (though you could print them out, too) - and a photo of the food/and or ingredients on the opposite page.
posted by sarajane at 1:03 PM on November 10, 2014

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