I use both as well. I love my cookbook collection, which is proudly displayed on my kitchen shelf ( which I had specifically custom made so the books wouldn't be hidden somewhere, impossible to get, then hardly used). I use them because of proven recipes, many of them I had seen demonstrated either from live demo's which I attended, viewed on television, or included in a DVD that came with their book ( which provides a visual demo). As mentioned many times above, they are mostly from chefs/ authors that have proven their recipes and techniques by their long professional culinary history, and cookbook writing history. Thats not to say that all of them fall under this category. Some are by one-timers that may offer a unique cuisine or just something that caught my eye ( or my imaginary palate). By no means am I anywhere close to being a professional chef, but with 30 + years of home cooking experience, I ( like many of you guys and gals) have developed the skill of being able to eye over a recipe and have a pretty good idea of what it may taste like. Often my wife just sends me the recipes to look over prior to her making any, so she doesn't waste her time ( shopping, cooking ...) or money on the ingredients ( she doesn't have the same talent).
The internet, on the other hand, is more of an 'Idea Finder" for me. It's quick, easy and accessible. In most cases it is free too. This is ideal for searching for ideas through a practically unlimited data base. Many recipes or ideas are forced down our throat as trendy 2 minute videos that pop up everywhere. At first I was annoyed by them, as it was just the ' flavor of the day', that everyone tried and talks about until the next one pops up. Now, I have learned to like them. They are quick, easy, right to the point. Ive made a bunch of them, which have come out pretty good. That being said, I also like to be unique. I don't like bringing something to a party and everyone saying " oh yeah, I saw that online and I meant to (or did) try it. As far as just searching for recipes online, unless Im going after a specific recipe or chef/author, Ill usually look at a few different recipes of the same dish. Ill then compare them to each other, along with my past experiences. With all this, Ill ultimately make a decision one which one I feel will turn out best, or sometimes even bastardizing all of them, and making one recipe out of them all ( picking an choosing certain ingredients and measurements from each that appeal to me . ***I never mess with a baking recipe. Those I follow %100, since I am a poor baker and screwing around with the measurements or ingredients is almost guaranteeing a failure unless you know what you're doing ( which I don't and gladly admit to
Im also not a big reader( like novels and things like that). But what I do enjoy reading are cookbooks. Not only for the recipes, but to look at the pics, learn a little history about the dish, the ingredients, the culture... So you can often see me just browsing through a cookbook, as someone else may be doing the same with a novel. I sometimes bring a cookbook or cooking magazines with me on vacations to read during down time.