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Two Buck Books Is The Bookstore You Didn't Know You Needed

Booze + Books = :).

26/05/2016 3:35 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:53 PM AEST
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Two Buck Books
Rosie Gregory and Robbie Coleman.

What do you get when you put booze, books and a good cause under one roof?

Firstly, you get a lot of very happy people. Secondly, you get Robbie Coleman's Two Buck Books.

Started about a year ago, Two Buck Books is Coleman's idea of a bookstore that gives back. The premise is simple: operating out of three different Melbourne pubs (Coleman is mates with all three of the respective owners), donated books are sold for two dollars a pop, with the money raised going toward a featured local charity.

So far, book sales have raised fairly significant funds for St Vincent de Paul Soup Vans, the SAIL (Sudanese Australian Integrated Learning) Program and the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.

Not bad considering the entire thing originally took Coleman 48 hours to get off the ground.

"A couple of my friends own Fancy Hanks BBQ restaurant, and they had a function room there that was really empty," Coleman told The Huffington Post Australia.

"Like barren, really bare. And so I said, 'if I start my own bookstore, would you give me the space for free?'"

The answer was 'yes', and so Coleman decided not only to go ahead with the idea, but that the proceeds of the books sold should go to charity.

"48 hours later we had built some shelves, had 1000 books on those shelves, and 400 people attend the opening of Two Buck Books," Coleman said.

"The idea then became to open Two Buck Book stores in high traffic locations with extended opening hours.

"The ones I have access to are bars, I drink a lot, and a lot of my friends own bars. If a friend owns a bar, I'll try and get a store in there."

Two Buck Books now operates out of three locations: Fancy Hanks BBQ, Nevermind Bar and Welcome to Thornbury.

Each store had an individual launch, with Coleman burying some signed treasures among the offerings to help attract even more punters.

"With all the launches, I do something different. The first two launches I had some writer friends sign books," Coleman said. "Bret Easton Ellis signed some copies of American Psycho for the first store, and Dave Eggers signed books for the second one.

"This launch, the most recent one, I moved away from authors and had some of my friends sign their favourite books. Chet Faker wrote something really nice in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Benjamin Law signed his own book -- selfish -- and Olympia, who I think is Australia's next big musician, signed some too.

"I also had the girls from The Katering Show [Coleman's partner is comedian Kate McCartney] sign some books, and then I buried them all in the shelves for people to find."

Those keen to see Two Buck Books expand outside of Melbourne may just have to hold their horses for now. The demand, even in Melbourne, is proving to be significant.

"Welcome to Thornbury might be the last store that we open, at least for now," Coleman said. "I have a new idea cooking up which will empower people to be a part of Two Buck Books, which I'm pretty excited about.

"This is all volunteer work for me. I don't take any money so I can't do it full time. I recently brought on my first volunteer, Rosie Gregory, and she's awesome, but it's still a lot of work for just the two of us.

"In another three to six months we're hopefully launching another phase, which I can't talk about too much right now."

In the meantime, expect to see the current locations continue to hum along. As well as the constant turnover of books, Coleman has added Two Buck Book tote bags to his offering, which, at $5 each, are so far selling well.

He's also calling for more book donations to ensure the remaining sites' shelves remain well stocked.

"Literally the whole time I have done this, I have only made a creative or ethical/moral decision not to put a book on the shelf once," Coleman said. "It was on sister incest. It was f*cked. That was literally the only one.

"But mostly we get really good stuff. 99.99 percent are in awesome condition. There's a real mix, and there's not as much Dan Brown as you would have thought."

For more information on how to donate books, head here, or check out the Two Buck Books Instagram account for the latest deals and announcements.

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