While most cookbook publishers cringe at the thought of giving readers free access to their books' recipes online, one New York house has enthusiastically jumped into such an endeavor. Workman Publishing has united two companies that serve the needs of the city that never sleeps by offering same- or next-day delivery in Manhattan: BN.com and online supermarket Fresh Direct.

Last month, Fresh Direct (which fulfills 30,000 orders a week) launched its "One-Click Recipe" function, allowing shoppers to browse 400 recipes from 53 Workman and Artisan cookbooks. When a customer selects a recipe, the site automatically fills the customer's shopping cart with the necessary ingredients (the customer can add or remove items). The food is delivered, and the customer receives an e-mail with the recipe and a link to buy the book at BN.com, Amazon.com or Powells.com (in that order). According to Workman, FreshDirect.com currently sells 10 cookbooks on its site and is working on a plan that will direct customers exclusively to BN.com for the entire list of cookbooks with recipes on the site.

Associate publisher Katie Workman, a devoted Fresh Direct customer, came up with the idea to put recipes from Workman and Artisan cookbooks on Fresh Direct's site about 18 months ago and cold-called the company's then-head. Under the agreement, no money changed hands, and 75% of all the recipes on FreshDirect.com for the next five years will be from Workman and Artisan books (the site also features recipes from Real Simple magazine). Katie Workman said the arrangement will bring increased visibility to Workman cookbooks, many of which were published 20 years ago. "We expect this to lead to more sales," she said. And while Workman acknowledged that the house is giving away some of its content without charge, she noted that it's only a sample—there will never be any more than 5% of a book's material on FreshDirect.com.

Workman online sales manager Andrea Fleck is setting up the exclusive partnership with BN.com, which will eventually be the only book retailer working with Fresh Direct. Fleck said the connection will go live in the next few weeks. Workman chose BN.com because it offers same-day delivery to Manhattan customers. "It was a really good mesh between two New York companies," Fleck said. B&N did not return phone calls by press time.

Fresh Direct, which serves New York City and parts of New Jersey, Westchester County and Long Island, is aggressively promoting the recipes—and, by extension, the books. It features the books prominently on the site, is running television ads starring Cynthia Nixon showing the books, and displays the books in ads on New York City phone kiosks and on its own delivery trucks.