Exclusives.co.za combines the bookselling expertise of Exclusive Books with exciting new products like ebooks, gifts and stationery. It also gives our customers an opportunity to form an online community, where new ideas are discovered, thoughts and opinions exchanged, and friendships formed. Excellence, elegance, quality, and an expanded range come together at the beginning of a new chapter in the story of Exclusive Books and Times Media Group.
History of Exclusive Books
In 1951, Philip and Pamela Joseph founded the very first Exclusive Books in a tiny second-hand bookshop in King George Street, Johannesburg. Marketed by word-of-mouth, it developed the reputation of knowing customers personally and anticipating their reading needs. In 1973 Exclusive Books moved to Pretoria Street, Hillbrow, and the shop became Exclusive's first flagship store. The shop soon became "the" place to see and be seen. One of the first shops to open for trading at night, over weekends and public holidays, Exclusive Books changed the face of bookselling in South Africa. The public knew that they could browse happily in a relaxing, elegant environment that would become characteristic of Exclusive Books shops.
The Hillbrow shop closed its doors for the last time in 1993. The end of an era indeed, but the beginning of a fresh, dynamic one for the Exclusive Books Group. The Hyde Park store became the group's flagship and was the largest of its kind in Southern Africa - a status it still enjoys today.
In 1999, Exclusive Books moved from "bookselling" to creating a smooth lifestyle experience in-store. The most important addition was the introduction of Seattle Coffee Company cafes adjoining eighteen of the bookstores. Seattle does for coffee what Exclusive Books has done for books, so the blend was perfect. Again Exclusive Books set the trend for bookstores in South Africa, and coffee-bar-cum-bookstores have become the latest hip social venues.
In 2002, in a move to formalize our 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, all well known and highly respected figures in the South African book world.
The public image of Exclusive Books is that of a chain of bookshops catering to a sophisticated reading market. But beyond that, we seriously regard ourselves as partners of all schools and libraries in South Africa in the attempt to make books accessible to the wider population and to encourage the establishment of a reading culture in this country.
The Reading Trust was established with the view of funding literacy, library and reading projects around the country, with a particular emphasis on the donation of children’s books and the development of children’s reading.
We have opened libraries in big cities & faraway places, from Cape Town to Limpopo, and the gift of a library often means more than just a place of books.
The library becomes a community center, a place of safety, where people can meet and take time to read a book, narrate a story or even catch up on some news.
Besides the libraries that we have been involved with, the Reading Trust donates thousands of books every year to various organization & charities.
There are amazing projects being run in this country by amazing people. The Exclusive Books Reading Trust is privileged to be working with some of them, trying to share our passionate belief that books can change lives.
Exclusive Books has a rich personality of its own. It has a heritage of peaceful political protest, stocking "undesirable" and censored material since its inception. Memorable guest-speakers - from Spike Milligan to Archbishop Tutu, Frank Muir to Francois Pienaar - have graced our stores. Famous customers like Nelson Mandela and Michael Jackson have found their favourite favourite Exclusive Books.
Our first ecommerce site, Exclusive Books.com, went live in 1999. It boasted all the quality range, excellent service and experience that customers have come to expect from Exclusive Books. This site was replaced by Exclusives.co.za in 2010.