Online bookstores are now a booming industry in Australia, with a record $1.4 billion worth of sales in 2016, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
But the online retailing scene is still in its infancy and it is not clear how the online community will adapt to changing cultural norms, such as LGBT people are not welcome in most mainstream bookstores.
Queensland’s first gay bookstore, the Vibrant Books in the City, opened in Brisbane’s CBD on December 1 and will open in the Sydney CBD on February 18.
It will be owned by a gay man and will feature a large selection of LGBTQ books, alongside books about other issues.
Vibrant founder and owner Tom Jones says the bookstore will “offer a safe space for all our members to read and share the diverse range of books they love and have come to love.”
“We will also offer support for all the LGBTQQ+ readers in our community, both online and offline,” he told ABC News.
“And we are open to all books, no matter how obscure, no one is stopping us.
We will welcome all who want to share their thoughts, experiences, stories and ideas with us.”
The bookshop will be housed in the former Salvation Army premises on Kingsway, a popular shopping and leisure precinct in Brisbane.
It was designed by architect and designer Nick Winton, who has designed several other bookstores, including the Gay Bookshop in Sydney.
The site is home to the Queensland Library of Culture, and has also been used as a space for a small bookshop.
Another bookshop that opened in Melbourne last year was the Bookshop.co.uk, which has a large library of books for sale in a range of genres including fiction, poetry, photography, music and design.