Well Fed on the Kindle

We are right now working on a Kindle version of Well Fed! It’s true — I am up to my eyeballs in cleaning up text files so the recipes look good on that little sucker. We expect it to be available in 2-3 weeks.

But… I’m firmly committed to print books, and Dave uses his Kindle for novels and non-fiction, but not cookbooks. We took a look at a few Kindle cookbooks and were aggressively underwhelmed. (We are so picky-pants.)

This is where you come in: We need your thoughts — please share in comments.

What are you looking for in a good Kindle version of Well Fed? Do you want to see photos?

What are the names of Kindle cookbooks that you love? Why are they good ones?

What other titles do you love and why? Is it the design? The font? The way the book behaves?

Is visual design important to you on the Kindle, or do you prefer text treatments?

To show our gratitude, everyone who replies in the comments will be entered in a drawing to win a free Kindle copy of Well Fed when it’s released in a few weeks. Thank you!

Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle

You know I'm firmly on Team Paleo and Team Whole30, but I also believe it's a good idea to stay open to new ideas and...

Read More

Feed Your Mind: Reading People

About 25 years ago, when I was working at a big web development company in San Francisco, our Creative Director planned a team summit, the...

Read More


  • Supers says:

    I’m with Dave. Kindle is great for fiction but I like real, print cookbooks that I can touch, look at the pics etc.

    Sorry – that really wasn’t much help. But to answer your questions, I would want photos even in a Kindle version

  • Michelle says:

    I would definitely want photos in a Kindle version. I have a few cookbooks loaded onto my husband’s Kindle Fire that are great for taking into the kitchen when I don’t have enough counter space for a bulky cookbook or laptop.

  • Katie says:

    I would want photos for sure. I haven’t ever used my kindle for cookbooks, but I just got it. I use my laptop’s recipe software though, and I love it, so I think it would be great. And, I’ve been wanting your cookbook since it came out!!

  • Julie says:

    Photos are a nice-to-have, but if it was cheap enough, I’d be delighted to buy it for recipes only.

  • Jill says:

    What I love about cookbooks on Kindle is that, no matter where I am, I can log in to my kindle account and have my cookbook! I currently have Paleo Comfort Foods on my kindle and it works great. Pictures are a must. Font doesn’t really matter much to me, but it needs to be navigable (like link up the table of contents so it’s easy to go from there to your awesome recipes!). Just made Bora Bora Fireballs tonight!

  • Celia says:

    Definitely make a version with pictures because they’ll look great on the Fire! I also happen to have a regular Kindle Keyboard which I keep in my bag at all times. It would be really helpful to have a Kindle version of your book so I could refer to it while shopping if I didn’t bring the book with me.

  • Hope says:

    I agree with Dave and Supers. I love my Kindle and read all kinds of stuff on it (I currently have 200+ books on mine,) but “how-to” books, including cookbooks, have generally been a big disappointment, because they rely on visual appeal as well as just content/type, which just doesn’t translate… Plus these types of books are usually ones which you want to flip back and forth in — something that is almost impossible on a Kindle. The format is just too clunky and unnavigatable (a new word!) and the photos are usually unappealing and flat. WellFed is a cookbook AND a graphically appealing feast for the eyes. I don’t know how you could carry the look and feel of the real book to a Kindle. (Especially with all the little sidebars and notes and insertions that add such charm to the book…)Having said that, IF YOU COULD, it would be amazing! But yes, I would want photos and a graphic treatment.

  • Diana Leneker says:

    I need to read books on the kindle but I need cookbooks in my hands. So. I read my cookbooks on my iPad using the kindle app.

  • alex says:

    A good TOC is a must have, in case you want to quickly look up something

  • KT says:

    Yes! I need pictures! I can’t be the only one who decides if I should make a recipe based solely on the pictures?

    Also, visual design is pretty important for me– I just got finished reading Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint on the Kindle, and he kept talking about the “sidebars” but there were none. 🙁 I would have rather had pictures of the sidebars, since I think that looking at pictures on the Kindle is actually quite nice.

    I know it sounds like I can’t read, I just really like visualizations. 🙂

  • Patty says:

    Pictures are a must. I like having a cookbook on my Kindle, so I can take it to work & do my meal-planning & grocery shopping planning while I’m away from home.

  • John Crippen says:

    I’ve got the real book (with great pictures), so I would use the Kindle version only for reference if I was out shopping or needing to prep a certain recipe while away from home. In those cases, I would be more interested in having very searchable text than in having pictures. In fact, pictures would just slow me down from getting to the ingredients lists and instructions.
    Your book is wonderful! Keep up the good work!

  • Sigi says:

    Gotta have pictures! I don’t like e-cookbooks without pics – very uninspiring. And don’t forget, some of us just use the Kindle app on a desktop or laptop, so the visual/design aspect is still important.

  • Kelly says:

    I would say yes to pictures, as I have a Kindle Fire and it would look great! I think it is a great idea you are doing this, because my kitchen is NOT LARGE and tucking my Kindle against the wall would be a great way at looking at the recipes (I already have Well Fed in book form)…its left over pork carnitas and cocoa cauliflower tonight. SERIOUSLY LOVE IT!!!

  • Deb says:

    I LIVE on my Kindle Fire! I agree, I used to prefer hard copies of cookbooks, but I am getting used to using the Kindle for recipes. Plus, I love the fact that since I take mu Kindle everywhere, I always have it with me when I make a quick stop at the store so if I’m thinking of something for dinner, I can look it up and viola, its there with everything I need to buy! Pictures Aa must! Font something clear to read. Cant wait!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Mel says:

    Thanks, guys! All of this feedback is helpful but what we REALLY need are examples of good cookbooks on the KIndle.

    What’s a good Kindle cookbook you would say we should look at for ideas?


  • SGRG76 says:

    First off – I love your blog! Everything on it is just so useful for someone who is starting their “Dino” lifestyle!

    Let me give you my opinion on your questions… (as if I’m the expert)

    Photos are ALWAYS helpful. They help give a visual to your post as a well as stir thoughts in the imagination of a reader. Yes to Photos!

    As far as owning a Kindle, I don’t have one… because I do love a good book in hand. But I don’t have to own/use a Kindle to know that adding beautiful font (color and size) and making the design of the ebook nice are all features every reader loves to see. It’s kind of like your website. There doesn’t have to be cool gadgets and gizmos, just flavorful appeal visually. 🙂

    Best of luck!

  • Margaret Ray de Arenas says:

    I love the Kindle! I have both the original and the Fire. I think Well Fed would be wonderful on the Kindle in it’s current format. DonThese are some cookbooks I have on my Kindle. I think they all have nice, user-friendly formats. Primal Blueprint Quick and Easy Meals by Mark Sisson; Now Eat This! by Rocco Dispirito; Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur; Stevia by Rita Depuydt.

  • pamela says:

    I don’t have many cookbooks for my kindle, so I am not much help there. I have your book and love it, but what what I would love to see in a kindle edition is a simpler font. I tend to use a fairly large font on the kindle to make it easier to read. While I love the look of Well Fed in print, I struggle a bit reading it. Pictures are not necessary, in my opinion, though that is influenced by already owning the book in print.

  • Margaret Ray de Arenas says:

    I love the Kindle! I have both the original and the Fire. I think Well Fed would be wonderful on the Kindle in it’s current format. Don’t know why you would have to change it.
    I, too, love the hard copy book in hand for cookbooks and other other How To books. BUT, I love the kindle to be able to have my books at my finger tips whenever and where ever I am. I have the Well Fed (Best cookbook in my Collection!), but I would definitely purchase the Kindle version.
    These are some cookbooks I have on my Kindle. I think they all have nice, user-friendly formats. Primal Blueprint Quick and Easy Meals by Mark Sisson; Now Eat This! by Rocco Dispirito; Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur; Stevia by Rita Depuydt.
    You might want to look at some magazine type formats. I get Art Jewelry and Bead Style that I read and use for patterns and instructions on the Kindle Fire.
    Can’t wait for the Kindle version! Yeah!!!

  • Catherine says:

    The only cookbook I have on my kindle is the Slow Cooker Revolution which is pretty easy but honestly, quite boring and unimaginative. But knowing you and Well Fed that will not be a problem! 🙂

  • Cathy says:

    In terms of format, I just recently switched to loading recipes into my iPad via the Paprika app, having read about it on some paleo site or other. (since I got my iPad, I never use my kindle anymore). The pictures aren’t huge, but are just enough, and I like the recipe format. Take at look at it if you get the chance –

  • Amelia says:

    I love using my Kindle Fire in the kitchen. I keep track of all of my favorite online recipes (like those from your site!) on Pinterest, which makes it really easy to pull them up and get started. I don’t have a lot of cookbooks on the kindle – I do find them a bit clunky to use. However, I would like to get yours on there to give it a try again. I love the ability to pull up recipes while shopping, etc. I can’t point you to any cookbooks that I particularly like on Kindle, but I do have the Nourishing Traditions book, which is great because I like to read it for the non-recipe info as well. I am very much looking forward to the Kindle version of your book – I vote for lots of pictures and great linkage to the TOC and between recipes (like if there is a sauce used in a particular recipe, you could link directly to it later in the book). Thanks!

  • Katee says:

    Photos are a must! Love seeing what I’m cooking and how delicious it looks. I was pleasantly surprised by my husband who ordered me a valentine’s gift from Amazon. It arrived yesterday, and when he opened the box, low and behold, it was Well Fed. He was even more surprised to hear that I already follow your blog. What a fantastic gift! Would love a way to bookmark favorite recipes on the Kindle. Then when at the grocery store you could always pull it up on your iphone too.

  • Justin Ross says:

    I tend to put cookbooks on my iPad. In fact, my PDF copy of Well Fed is sitting on my iBooks shelf right now. 🙂

    I have to say, though, the squarish page format leaves a bit to be desired on the ipad screen. I usually have to zoom/pan around to read a recipe.

    Any thoughts on implementing an iBooks-native version with Apple’s new iBooks Author software? Yeah, it’s made for textbooks, but I think it’d be perfect for a gorgeous cookbook like yours. I’ve played around with the software a bit, too, and it’s really pretty straightforward.

  • Robyn F says:

    I LOVE photos and I have a few cookbooks on kindle and the recipes seem jumbled and seem like they run together. If possible one recipe per “page”. I am not sure how that works.

  • Mario Villalobos says:

    A good Kindle book would have a fantastic table of contents. I don’t think anything else matters if the table of contents is terrible, especially for a cookbook when the need to jump around is key and natural. Photos would be nice, especially if there’s a glossary of sorts (or a website companion) with hyperlinks that take us to HQ photos.

    The focus should be on a good text treatment over visual design. Stuff like a single ingredient per line, a single recipe per page(s) (a new recipe starts at the top of the screen), stuff like that.

    Also, not a suggestion, but seeing popular highlites for this book would be awesome.

  • Laura I. says:

    Ive had a kindle for a while, but bought the kindle Fire when it came out for cookbooks so I could see the color pictures. I love being able to have my favorite cookbooks with me while traveling. Lots of pictures would be great! Yours will definitely be one I add too the collection!

  • Elaine says:

    I just purchased the print version on Amazon, actually. I LOOOOVE my Kindle but after the last three cookbooks / nonfiction ebooks I downloaded for it came out practically unusable, I swore to never get a cookbook or an unreviewd nonfiction book on Kindle again.

    But OMG, thank you for actually attempting to make a GOOD Kindle version!!!!! Most publishers just reformat the file they sent to the printer and don’t even bother proofreading it before putting it up for downloads…

    I think the best cookbook I have on Kindle is Nourishing Traditions… I guess that, since cookbooks are reference books, the thing I would look for is ways to make it easy to find recipes. So, make it easy to navigate the TOC and index, and format the recipe headers and section headers so it’s easy to figure out what you’re looking at in a text search. Don’t break up recipes with too many sidebars, maybe place sidebars after the recipe.

    As far as images go, they’re nice, but I’d rather they don’t break up a recipe if possible… Leaving them out would be fine with me. But I don’t have a Kindle Fire. 🙂

    Do you have charts or tables in your cookbook? Because that’s what always gets messed up in Kindle versions. I don’t think I’ve seen a single book where I’ve been able to use an information table in the Kindle version.

    Anyway, really looking forward to getting my print version… I’m planning on breaking it in really well this weekend!

  • As I live in Europe, I sometimes need to buy things on Kindle that I might prefer to have in hard copy, in order to avoid prohibitively high mailing costs… like cookbooks (which then also lets me have them with me when I travel abroad). Above all, a Kindle cookbook needs a functional table of contents to make it easy to find and return to a recipe. Photos/images are an extra, but not all that welcome on the old black and white Kindle, and Kindle Fires aren’t available here yet.

    As someone else mentioned, graphs and charts often get messed up, but I’m also sort of used to making sense of messed up graphs.

    I still hope to get a “real” copy of your book at some point when I’m in the US, but I’m excited about getting it in Kindle format as well. Thanks for making the effort!

  • Casey says:

    I have Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything” on my Kindle (old K2 with the keyboard). I specifically asked for it on Kindle because I know it’s HUGE in hardcopy, and I figured it would come in handy, as it resides in my purse and would automatically be at the grocery store with me.

    It’s a bit cumbersome to navigate on Kindle, but not horrible. The search feature isn’t that great because it’s such a big book – there are LOTS of instances of “chicken”, for instance. The linked Table of Contents works well, but again, it’s huge – so I might use the Menu key to Go To Table of Contents, but then I have to go through something like 8 or 9 page forwards to get to the meat sections. I hear there’s a decent index, but I haven’t made use of it. Maybe I should bookmark that portion of the book. I bookmark my favorite recipes, which makes them easier to find.

    I bought your .pdf e-book of Well Fed and it looks FABULOUS on my Kindle Fire (yes, I have two Kindles….). I put the 1-up version on there. The font is pretty small in portrait, so I turn in landscape and set it up with the cover-stand on my kitchen counter.

  • Casey says:

    Oh! And How to Cook Everything has little links between some things – so in the recipe for roasting a whole chicken, there are links to the section on how to quarter or carve it. The tables and drawings are a bit awkward (there are no pix, and I don’t require pix), but not unusable.

  • Renee says:

    Reasons I vote for the Kindle version (pictures or not):
    -I have too many cookbooks and am slowly changing over to electronic versions.
    -I prefer to have my cookbooks with me when I’m out shopping and need a little inspiration at the store.
    -Ditto the comment on table of contents. It needs to be thorough and sensible.
    -I admit that some of the Amazon reviews discouraged me from buying the print version because of the type size. I’m not blind, but as an over-40 reader I like being able to magnify things if needed. Kindles can do this.
    Thanks for caring enough to ask!

  • Angelia says:

    I have an aluratek e-reader and I can view my pdf version of the book on it, pictures and all. I would like to have options to do that on my phone (I can read kindle on there too) Its nice to have options =)

  • kitty says:

    TOC! ‘Flicking’ through kindle books can be a pain. side note – this will be first cookbook ebook purchase. sounds great for deciding on dinner while at the supermarket.

  • I love, love, LOVE my Kindle and haven’t bought a print book since I got it! So I can definitely answer this:

    “What are you looking for in a good Kindle version of Well Fed?”

    -The biggest draw for me of a Kindle cookbook is that the text is searchable. So, properly OCRing the text is an absolute MUST. I hate it when stuff doesn’t show up on my text searches because i.e. “chicken” was OCR’d to “clnl(1c3m” or something like that.
    -Links for everything. Linked TOC. Linked footnotes. Linked index. Links when something else is referenced. For example, in a recipe for pork, if it says, “use the leftovers in f’rice”, provide a link right there to the f’rice recipe.

    “Do you want to see photos?”
    -I have a plain Kindle e-reader with a keyboard (not a touch or Fire) — I prefer it because of the battery life. Provide photos for important how-tos where you need the visual, but I don’t need food pr0n on it. Pictures should go on their OWN pages, mixing text + pictures gets screwy on Kindle.

    “What are the names of Kindle cookbooks that you love? Why are they good ones? What other titles do you love and why? Is it the design? The font? The way the book behaves?”
    -The only one I have is “Slow Cooker Revolution”. I would absolutely buy more Kindle cookbooks if they were available. I like it because it complies with the suggestions that I made. Also I like being able to make digital bookmarks and notes. And also because in the kitchen when I’m cooking from a recipe the Kindle lays flat — same reason I prefer spiral-bound cookbooks. I hate it when I have to keep opening a cookbook over and over while cooking.

    “Is visual design important to you on the Kindle, or do you prefer text treatments?”
    -Do NOT do a fancy layout like you have in the print version. Scalable text, default font, nothing that necessitates side-scrolling, no inset boxes or sidebars. Major PITA, especially on the non-touch Kindle.

    IMHO if you want to get fancy with it, do an app rather than a Kindle text. The only cooking app I have is a sous vide Android app from cookingsousvide.com and I love it, it would not however be suited to a Kindle e-reader.

  • Kath Fryia says:

    I like my kindle mostly for fiction, not so much for reference books. But it would be handy to have the recipes available in the kitchen, especially when cooking at someone else’s home. I wouldn’t need pictures, cause I already know the recipes are all great. Would want to access the table of contents/index easily.

  • Minturn Bites says:

    I like cross- referencing with in the recipes, but make sure it links or references to the correct page.

  • Stephanie says:

    I don’t have any cookbooks I love on my Kindle, but I do have a few that are OK. By OK, I mean the recipes are hit or miss. I’m really not to picky on formatting. Pictures are not necessary, but a bonus. My requests for a Kindle edition would be similar to a print edition–good editing and proofreading. I tend to skim recipes from my Kindle, try the ones I like, and then type up “keepers” on a recipe card.

  • Hannah says:

    I generally don’t like cookbooks on my Kindle because of things like formatting. People seem to think that just giving a plan text version is enough: it’s not.

    I find a good table of contents with links very important (i.e. you can click in the contents), good structure (titles, subtitles, etc).

    Good luck!

  • Nienna says:

    I absolutely love my Kindle, but haven’t actually even thought about having a cookbook on it. Even thouh I do use it quite often while cooking, but so far I’ve mainly used the web browser to find recipies.

    A good browsability would be must in a Kindle book in my opinion: the possibility to flick back to the index easily enough, and possibly even to other related recipies (how to decide what’s related and what’s not is a completely different question though). Well-optimised photos would certainly be a great addition, too!

    In some of the Kindle books I have I have found it really annoying when the book is clearly just mindlessly ported to Kindle without too much consideration, and there are references to things that might actually not appear on the Kindle version at all. Sometimes it also seems that the port has messed up some of the language and introduced some very odd spelling mistakes (e.g. words written together, letters swapped in a very random fashion). A good table of index is a must too with links to the content. The current book I’m reading always throws me back at the start of the index when I click the index button which drives me absolutely nuts, as it’s actually four volumes of a series combined in one book, so there’s a lot of scrolling that needs doing åq

  • Nienna says:

    Whoops, accidental post there before I finished… Anyway:

    The current book I’m reading always throws me back at the start of the index when I click the index button which drives me absolutely nuts, as it’s actually four volumes of a series combined in one book, so there’s a lot of scrolling that needs doing, which isn’t really all that great.

    In general, keep it simple – Kindle isn’t really the best device for fancy layouts and design like a normal cookery book would be. I agree with a lot of Erica’s points above (Erica @ Stuff I Make My Husband says).

    I certainly would be interested in a Kindle version of Well Fed – if there’s one more type of books I don’t need to buy in hard copy, all the better!

  • marcia says:

    lavish cookbooks are great in the kindle reader on my pc, but not so good on the kindle device. keep it lavish and tell people to read it on their pc!

    create a text-only version of ingredients to be loaded on kindle; that way i always have them with me at the store.

  • Nicole says:

    Hi Melissa,

    As one of the people waiting excitedly for the Kindle version, I decided I should comment 🙂 We are a military family, which means constant moving, months spent in hotels or at our families’ homes, and I just don’t have the ability to drag all my favorite cookbooks with me everywhere. Kindle has been great foe solving that problem without my having to retype all the recipes I need into a program like BigOven.

    Like other comments, I agree that having it either be searchable or well-indexed with links is priority number one. I like the pictures, as well, Paleo Comfort Foods works fine on my kindle, they have links from the contents page, although an index would have improved the experience exponentially. But, really, the most important thing for me is have all the info, in a digital format that I don’t have to box up every time we move!

  • Sarah Ashley says:

    my two cents: I’m brand new to paleo eating and use a kindle, a tablet (not ipad), and laptop and have been known to use each of them in the kitchen to view recipes and cook by. I would love for you to include color photos just like in the printed version because I will no doubt use this book from all those devices and it’s soooo hard to decide if I want to make a dish if I can’t see what it’s going to look like.

    As for the rest of your questions: I only have a few exclusively on my kindle, and none include photos, which I hate. I’ve not yet downloaded a wonderful (in my opinion) cookbook for my kindle. So I have no titles to recommend 🙁

    Formating as far as fonts go: mmm I think I’d prefer plain text. It will probalby be a nightmare for you to format with fancy fonts for the kindle – when it comes to text readability is of utmost importance for me.

  • Steph says:

    Hey. The best kindle cookbook I’ve seen so far was “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon because it was full of linky goodness.

    The worst was “Appetite for Reduction” by Isa Moskowitz because it was full of typo fails (that Isa herself said was due to an overzealous type-setter).

    Here is what I want in Kindle cookbooks:

    – Links to recipes referred to inside other recipes. I.e., a recipe that may list off accompanying sauces featured elsewhere in the cookbook should have links embedded around those sauces.
    – Correct line breaks – seriously, please PAY ATTENTION to this. Quite often ingredients are all run together and do not have their own line break.
    – “Boxed” information correctly cordoned off. One of Sisson’s books, I think, has a ton of information in little “info boxes” in the print version. In the Kindle edition, it kind of just runs into the middle of the recipe. Which is dumb. Love his recipes. Hate the layout.
    – Typos. FIXED. I frequently search the crap out of my Kindle books. When someone typos a word, I cannot effectively search.
    – Photos are nice. I like them. But I don’t need them as much on Kindle.
    – References to page numbers is useless on Kindle. At least on my Kindle.
    – Compact layout. Another peeve of mine: when the person laying it out clearly reused the book source and didn’t bother to remove the extra line breaks after ingredients, putting an ingredients list across multiple pages.
    – A table of contents that list out ALL the recipes and LINKS to them. I use this constantly.
    – Same with the index.

    Fallon’s book isn’t the end-all, be-all for me, but so far it’s the best-presented Kindle book I’ve seen.

  • Jambo says:

    Important to be clear as to who your market is here. I can see a lot of opinions from people who don’t like cookbooks on Kindle saying what they’d like. Not much use since most of them clearly state they don’t like cookbooks on Kindle. Yet cookbooks look to sell well on Kindle, so some people, like myself and Steph above obviously do.
    I buy paper cookbooks and then ones I really like I tend to also buy the Kindle or iBook version so I have my recipes digitally with me at the supermarket, on the subway when I’m thinking about dinner and in the kitchen so my print copies don’t get dirty.
    So what do I look for?

    Decent formatting so recipes look like recipes.
    Decent index and page references that correlate to the print edition so you can see something in the physical and find it fast in the digital. Kindle is a bit rubbish with page numbers but some books seem to just match like Nourishing Traditions and many don’t.
    Proper links where one recipe calls for an input from another. Nothing worse in digital than having to jump out of one recipe midway through madly trying to find another.
    Finally one thing that doesn’t matter at all-photos. Have them. Don’t have them. Don’t care. iBooks seem to work well with photos. Kindle less so. Kind of irrelevant if the digital is being used mostly for utility rather than evocation.
    Hope that helps

  • Dawn L says:

    Must have working table of contents! So essential to locating what you need. Pictures will come through as black and white, but could be helpful. Good luck with the project, I look forward to seeig it.