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The Book Cow: More than just a book shop

22 May 2024

In the heart of Kingston, opposite the Green Square, stands a place of literary delight known as The Book Cow.

But what exactly is a Book Cow?

To understand the name, we must delve into the story behind it.

The Book Cow: 47 Jardine Street, Kingston www.bookcow.com.au

In a recent interview with Peter, the owner of The Book Cow, he shared the origins of the name. With a passion for both books and cows, Peter and his family wanted to name the store something memorable that would resonate with people, especially children. Thus, The Book Cow was born, a name that not only captures their love for literature but also invokes a sense of charm and nostalgia.

The Book Cow is more than just a clever name; it's a haven for book lovers. What sets The Book Cow apart is its dedication to creating a love for reading, particularly among children. Recognising a shortage of kid-friendly bookstores in Canberra, Peter set out to fill this gap, curating a space where children can immerse themselves in the world of books.

The shop is divided into two distinct sections: one catering to adults with a diverse selection of titles reflecting the tastes of the local community, and the other dedicated solely to children's literature, inviting young readers to explore and discover the magic of storytelling.

Peter Arnaudo: The Book Cow is dedicated to creating a love for reading.

...and it specialises in childrens literature

The shop is divided into two distinct sections: one catering to adults with a diverse selection of titles reflecting the tastes of the local community, and the other dedicated solely to children's literature, inviting young readers to explore and discover the magic of storytelling. 

Peter told us, “It’s a place where you can come and talk about books, exchange thoughts and ideas, and experience books. And for kids in particular, that experience is really about having fun…  playing with books, reading books, and all those sorts of good things. That's why we try to make it a really welcoming place for them.” In a world saturated with digital distractions, Peter firmly believes in physical books. He emphasises the ability of books to transport readers to new worlds, ignite their imagination, and offer a reprieve. As Peter aptly puts it, "The worst thing I can hear about kids walking in is their parents saying, 'Don't touch anything!' We actually want you to pick up the books. We don't have problems with kids opening up books and reading them and having fun with them. I don't have problems with people bringing their dogs into the shop either because dogs shouldn't be sitting out there moping, thinking, 'I'm not part of the family.’”

For the adults, The Book Cow also carries a diverse selection of titles

So, it is no surprise that Peter decided to support Canberra Hospital Foundation last Christmas with a special book delivery for children who couldn’t go home for the holidays. Delighted to learn of the immediate impact of his book donation, Peter spoke of the therapeutic value of books in promoting mental well-being and resilience. From offering solace to hospital patients to providing an escape for those facing adversity, books possess a unique ability to uplift spirits, expand horizons, and instil hope. 

As Peter mentioned, “Time goes on a different scale when you're reading a book and the world drops away, I think, because if it's a really good book that captures your attention and your imagination, you can stay there all day long.”

Embracing a sense of community spirit, The Book Cow highlights the integral role that small businesses play in nurturing vibrant and resilient communities. When asked why he chose  to support Canberra Hospital Foundation, Peter told us “It’s not just good business, it’s supporting the community that supports us.”