Baci Lounge has opened its first Australian store in Brisbane, which caters to both foodies and book lovers as visitors can enjoy great coffee, food and wine, while reading some of the best books around.

The brainchild of New Zealand-based published author, medical doctor and Queensland university senior lecturer, Dr. Sharad Paul, Baci Lounge – which is Italian for ‘kisses’ and an acronym for Books, Art, Coffee Inc – supplies a full range of fiction and non-fiction books from local publishers and book distributors.  

The unique concept was created due to Paul’s concern that society’s interest in reading and literature was dwindling. 

“My vision was to reinvigorate a passion for literature for book lovers as well as those who want to establish an interest in books but haven’t had the right opportunity. 

“The rise of the information age brought with it a proliferation of new types of media, much of it online, which I think has had a knock-on effect; people are reading fewer books because they are bombarded with so much news and information. I am consumed by a passion to revitalise the art of reading and the tradition of a friendly local independent book store combined with a cafe,” explains Paul. 

The first Baci Lounge opened in Auckland, New Zealand, and since opening, the store has won several industry awards. It is also the only Australasian bookstore to be featured in Time magazine for its unusual collection of literature on India. 

“In addition to local titles, Baci Lounge supplies American and English press titles, normally not available in many Australasian bookshops,” said Paul. 

“We encourage people to flick through our unique collection books while they are enjoying coffee, a meal or a glass of wine. Some publishers thought I was nuts and would end up with lots of damaged stock, but this is all a part of my vision for the business. It allows visitors to take their time and not feel guilty about reading in store,” he added.

Baci Lounge allocates profits into several literacy programs including a mentoring program for lower socioeconomic schools and a short story competition for schools with the winning school getting a supply of books for its library.

Baci Lounge is located at 283 Given Terrace, Paddington, Brisbane.