In 1951, Philip and Pamela Joseph founded the very first Exclusive Books as a second-hand bookshop in King George Street, Johannesburg. In 1973 Exclusive Books moved to Pretoria Street, Hillbrow, and became the first flagship store. The Hillbrow branch closed in 1993 and within the same year, The Hyde Park store became the group's flagship. It was the largest Bookstore of its kind in Southern Africa at the time.
In 1999, Exclusive Books moved from just selling books to creating a lifestyle oriented experience. The most important addition was the introduction of Seattle Coffee Company cafés adjoining eighteen of the bookstores.
Corporate Social Responsibility
In 2002, in a move to formalize the corporate social responsibility programme, Exclusive Books established the Exclusive Books Reading Trust. The three Trustees of the Trust are Zakes Mda, Mandla Langa, and Brian Wafawarowa.
The Reading Trust was established to fund literacy, library and reading projects around South Africa. The Reading Trust is responsible for the donation of children’s books and the development of children’s reading. Through the Reading Trust Exclusive Books has opened libraries in Cape Town and Limpopo and has donated thousands of books every year to various organizations and charities.
The first Exclusive Books ecommerce site was launched as ExclusiveBooks.com and went live in 1999. In 2010, this was replaced by Exclusives.co.za.