Books for Cooks has moved out of the 1850s Victorian terrace that has been its home for more than 15 years. Now the bookshop is in the heart of the Queen Victoria Market.
Books for Cooks is the country’s only bookshop dedicated to new and old books about wine, food and the culinary arts. In Gertrude Street its rooms were filled from floor to ceiling with more than 40,000 titles.
Owners Tim and Amanda White have moved these thousands of books from the overflowing Gertrude Street shop to their new home among the stallholders.
“This site’s much bigger than the Gertrude Street shop and we wanted somewhere that was really warm and inviting for customers, with a bit more elbow room so they could browse more comfortably,” says Amanda. “Fitzroy’s been a wonderful neighbourhood, but a lot of stallholders at the market know us and have been really welcoming and supportive.”
The Whites have designed the space themselves, adding interest to the industrial brick and concrete walls with hints of charcoal and copper. The dark jarrah timber bookcases from the old shop have made the journey across town, too. They bring warmth into the open space, which is filled with natural light.
The increase in size not only allows for more display space. It also means the Whites can hold events in the shop again – a lack of space forced them to host readings and book launches in a local Fitzroy cafe for the past few years.
According to Amanda, one of the best aspects of the move is that the bigger space allows customers to better engage with the literature and allows them to make it feel like their own lounge room. “It’s going to be a wonderful space for people to browse and sit in,” she says. “People should be able to come from the market, leave their trolley by the door and sit down to read a cook book for culinary inspiration.”
Despite the traditional bookshop model being undermined by e-books and downloadable reading material, Cooks for Books remains relevant, offering customers a unique space in which they can buy the latest Zumbo dessert manual, or peruse rare, hand-written recipe books from the 1700s.
“Our customers are the kinds of people who want something that’s beautiful to read, beautiful to look at and beautiful to cook from,” Amanda says. “It engages them with the story and soul of the food.”
Books for Cooks
Queen Victoria Market
129–131 Therry Street, Melbourne
Mon to Sat 10am–6pm