Where once ravers danced into the early morning upstairs at the Mercat, what is now the Fancy Hank’s function room also home to a more charitable project. Two Buck Books, thought up by Robbie Coleman, is a new fundraiser selling donated books for, well, two dollars while passing on the money collected to charities in need.

Coleman is a fast operator. Within just a couple of weeks of thinking up the idea, he'd enlisted Bret Easton Ellis to supply signed copies of his books American Psycho and Less Than Zero to sell (for $2 of course). You might recall Coleman’s memorable interview with the writer for The Thousands a couple of years ago, which is when Coleman first met Ellis. “That would have been about six years ago in the Hilton. We ended up punching each other on the floor which was quite interesting,” he says. “We stayed in touch over the years just sending each other emails.”

To entice people to buy, Two Buck Books plans on having international and local authors sign their works each month and place them among the donated books on the shelves. August’s author is still being locked in, but Coleman is chatting with the Melbourne Writers’ Festival and others in the writing scene.

Coleman and his partner Kent Bell (who co-owns Fancy Hank’s) have an eclectic range of books available to buy. “There have been a lot of Lonely Planet guides; there’s a lot for intrepid travellers,” says Coleman on the donations so far. “There’s been a really good mix of non-fiction and fiction so far, but we’ll take anything. There was a coffee-stained Hunter S. Thompson book, which is kind of a cliché within a cliché, and then there have been awesome design books and weird books about cats, which mainly came from my partner Kate. You know, Tokyo design guides, various things. It’s really nice. There was even a Terry Richardson book that had a couple of sticky pages… we washed everything down before going live.”

The first charity to benefit from Two Buck Books’ funds will be the St Vincent de Paul soup vans, two of which are located nearby. “Ideally I’d like it to get to the point where there are dozens of Two Buck Book stores in Melbourne and there’s enough money for it to be really hyper-local, with charity funding to go hyper-local,” says Coleman, who encourages other charities to get in touch.

To donate books to Two Buck Books, drop them off at Fancy Hank’s, 456 Queen Street, North Melbourne, during business hours or between 11am–11pm on weekends. Alternatively email hellotwobuckbooks@gmail.com to arrange collection.

The guys are also after unwanted bookcases and timber, preferably floorboards, to build bookcases.

Daily 11am–11pm (unless a function is booked)