Bookcase Australia: Our Origin Story


A letter from the co-creators!

Hello and welcome to Bookcase Australia! We’re so glad you’ve decided to stop by and see what we're all about. Bookcase Australia is a monthly subscription book box service made for book lovers, by book lovers! We’re excited to bring you great, new Australian reads each month, along with some funky and unique literary inspired gifts.

Let us introduce ourselves! The Monica of this duo is Jords, an avid bookworm from the Central Coast, and the Rachel is Mel, a Tassie-grown genre-junkie. We both love a good book-nook and cuppa, and share a love of the creative arts. While Jords is more into schedules and research, Mel doodles and paints in her spare time, occasionally selling her work online. Together, we are Bookcase Australia!

Jordan has been a book-lover since a young age and frequently took part of the MS Read-a-thon challenges during her primary school years. Jordan’s love for literature persuaded her to study English at Macquarie University. After her first year, she postponed her degree to study a Cert III and Diploma of Event Management at Ryde TAFE. While this qualification was a hell of lot of fun, Jordan knew her passion lay with literature and went back to uni, this time at the University of Newcastle. She graduated with a degree in English and Writing with a double minor in Ancient History, and Cultural, Communications and Media studies. From here, she enrolled in the Masters of Publishing degree at University of Sydney which allowed her pursue two passions - books and academia. Jordan completed a masters dissertation and was a member of the 2015 USYD Student Anthology editorial team alongside Mel. These experiences taught Jordan she was happy to end her academic pursuits and is instead more excited by creating and reading books. It was during this degree that Jordan first stumbled across OwlCrate, a monthly Young Adult book box subscription service. She was instantly in love with the idea and wanted to order one straight away, but shipping from the US is ridiculously expensive. Then she came across Australia’s only (at the time) book box, The YA Chronicles, another YA book box. While she loves a good YA novel, it’s not all she reads. She stewed on this predicament for a while, so much so, that she had a dream!

In this dream she simultaneously owned a bookshop and a book box subscription service. Upon waking up, she came to the conclusion that this would, in fact, be a perfect scenario for her life. A book box is a more fun and creative start, but the dream to own an independent bookshop is still well and truly alive! Thus, the first inkling of Bookcase came to life, but it was not a reality until Mel came on board. All in all, Jordan can throw killer parties and reads a tonne. Making her a splendid first half to Bookcase Australia.

Our second (but no less equal) half, Mel, has been meandering between literature and visual art from a young age, often writing stories and drawing her own characters in primary and high school. When she first went to the University of Tasmania Art School in Hobart, she was enrolled in a Visual Communications degree. This degree wasn’t quite the right fit, so over a couple of years she transferred over to an Arts degree and finished her Bachelor with a Major in English Literature and a Minor of Art History and Theory. She then went on to do her Masters of Publishing with Jordan, at the University of Sydney, but never left her artistic side behind, as she designed the cover and interior elements for the Student Anthology, and started up her own illustration brand, The Little Inkery, in March 2016. She now works as a graphic designer for a small digital printing company, Kaligraphic, in Leichhardt, and enjoys working with authors and businesses to create everything from book covers to large banners, and tiny business cards. So when Jords came to her with the idea of a subscription book box, Mel was immediately inspired. Her love of books, her values in education and representation, and her ability and resources as a designer and printer could be combined into one amazing project: Bookcase Australia. Australia’s own book box, which engages in the industry, the culture, and the politics that Mel lives and works in. She hopes to one day live in a cute terrace house above her own Little Inkery studio, and Bookcase office. But for now she’s comfortably share-housing in Marrickville, spending too much money on Gözleme and second hand knick-knacks at the market.

Jords didn’t bring up the idea until we were nearing the end of our degree. When she did, Mel immediately offered up her illustration, graphic design skills and love of books to the project! Fast forward six months (give or take) and we have our very first meeting. We talked non-stop for hours about all the possibilities, from bookmarks and tote bags, to short stories and comics! We were so engrossed in what we were doing that we didn’t even notice two of our friends enter the cafe (so sorry again Hannah and Almendra!). We left the meeting feeling completely buzzed and excited to start this adventure! We were thrilled to discover that we worked well together, with skills that complement each other, and similar, flexible attitudes. It’s not often you get to work with someone who shares your passion, and has the drive to take a chance on something new and scary, so we both feel very fortunate to have found this in each other. Over the next few weeks we managed to recruit some fellow friends to our cause who were instrumental in deciding on the name and colour scheme of our business and continue to offer support and ideas. After a few meetings of creating lists of potential names, we finally settled on: Bookcase Australia, (mainly due to hours spent on pinterest looking up cute bookcases and, of course, the punny double meaning).

We are very excited to be on this journey and are so stoked you’ve come along for it as well! If you are intrigued, please sign up to our newsletter and follow us on @bookcaseaus.

Until next time,
Keep on reading, bookworms!

All images and gifs are sourced via creative commons

Jordan Meek

Jordan is an avid bookworm who loves nothing more than to curl up with a good book and a cuppa. When this romantic setting eludes her, she can be found writing to-do lists, scheduling, binge-watching tv shows and/or fantasising about what book to read next. She is a freelance editor and proofreader.

Melissa Coates

Melissa is a genre-junkie, graphic designer, and illustrator. She’s a firm believer in the power of imagination and creativity, and loves getting parcels in the mail. She’s super keen to send happy little bookcases to excited binge-readers like herself. You can find her illustrations on most social media and Etsy @TheLittleInkery