How Good is "The Good Cook?"

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The offer's just so tempting. The Good Cook Book Club offers the chance to buy three cookbooks for just $1 each!

When paging through food magazines, we often come to a full stop at The Good Cook's ads, look at all the tiny cookbook cover shots, and ponder what books we might order.

But then we stop, go online or to the bottom of the ads, and read the fine print: "You will be billed (including $11.71 shipping and handling for your introductory package) when your membership has been approved. All we ask is that you agree to buy just 2 more books at regular club prices during your membership. Take up to 1 year!"

That means the $4 books are now $15.71. Still a good deal, but not as great as we thought at first.

Then there's the commitment to buy two more books from The Good Cook over the next year . . .

We ran some price comparisons and found that cookbooks from The Good Cook almost always cost more (Jamie's Italy is $24.49 from the club,$22.02 from Amazon; the new Silver Palate is $23.99 from the club, $19.97 from Amazon), even before accounting for higher shipping fees.

Seems like The Good Cook is a not-so-good way to get affordable access to new cookbooks. Are any of you members or ex-members? What resources do you use to get deals on new cookbooks? Library, anyone?

(Full Disclosure: In 2001, Chris worked for an ad agency where Bookspan, the parent company of The Good Cook, was one of the clients.)

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