Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Budget Vegan Books

The Topic: Buying your favorite vegan books with VegNews Associate Editor Jennifer Chen.

The Dish: Whenever I go to a bookstore, I head straight to the cookbook section and visually stuff myself silly with the recipes I read in vegan cookbooks. I don't know about you, but suddenly I want to buy every single book in sight. Vegan desserts! Dinner party menus! A whole book about waffles! But if I shell out my entire paycheck for cookbooks, I won't have cash for the actual groceries to make said delicious recipes. What's a budget gal to do? 

1. Make a list, check it twice. I keep a list on my iPhone of only the books I really want (as in, I will actually make the recipes at home). When I'm at my local used book shop, I can pull out my list and grab the books that I already know I want instead of going Supermarket Sweep-style and shoving the entire cooking section into a giant cart.

2. Half Price Veggie Books. This Amazon.com online shop has more than just cookbooks. From Quantum Wellness by Kathy Freston, Moby's book about Teany, to The Face on Your Plate, you can find top reads for 50 percent or more off.

3. Power of Powell's Books. If you've ever been to this bibliophile heaven, you understand the power of Powell's Books. The place is packed with new, used, and out-of-print editions of every book you could ever think of. Seriously. If you don't live in Portland, just hop online and sign up for the monthly newsletter and get offers for free shipping, sale prices, and exclusive deals. Even better, you can sell your books to them and they pay for the shipping!

4. Get used, get thrifty. My best scores have always come from my local bookstores or Out of the Closet thrift shops. I scored a hardcover copy of The Kind Diet for a friend's birthday for $15, snagged a copy of 1,000 Vegan Recipes for $13, and even found The Conscious Cook for $16. Go local, scour, and save.

5. Make your own cookbook. The best holiday gift I ever got was from my friend Diana. She made me a vegan cookbook by handwriting some of our favorite vegan recipes in a nice notebook. She pasted other recipes and left me room to add in my own favorites. Having her Italian mother's recipe for marinara sauce? Check. Having fun little notes in the margins from my friend? Priceless.

The Final Word: You can easily satisfy your love for books and saving cash. And with the extra dough from selling your books, you can whip up two fancy cupcake recipes from your gently used copy of Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.


  1. Great suggestions! I particularly enjoy the one where you pimp an amazon store and pretend like VegNews isn't running it. We can see the similar logo, fyi. :) How about a little full disclosure for once?

  2. Have you ever heard of The Book Thing in Baltimore? http://www.bookthing.org/ A big warehouse book exchange. All books are free. You don't have to bring anything but can take as much as you like. A big cookbook section.

    Also, the internet is full of free recipes that you can save onto your computer to use anytime. Great websites like vegetarian times, whole foods, martha stewart are my go-to source for recipes.

  3. Yes, Baby Mama, I LOVE VT's recipes! There are so many easy, delicious dishes. WF is pretty good, too. I also love the PPK site when I'm craving comfort food. Isa is a genius.