Folio Books, Brisbane’s Iconic Bookstore, Turns the Final Page After 41 Years

After 41 years, Folio Books, the iconic bookstore that has welcomed generations of booklovers in Brisbane, has turned the final page and announced its permanent closure. 

In a message to its customers, owners Angelos, Jenny and Alexis Kakoulidis said that they’ve made the firm decision not to reopen following the demolition of its last site on Mary Street early this year. 

Folio Books was supposed to relocate in autumn to a new home after its lease on Mary Street ended. Since the building owner filed a development application to turn the old site into a new office tower with food and drink outlets, the bookstore owners’ original plan was to transition into a new location.  

Yes as the Kakoulidis siblings said that whilst they’ve weathered through floods, two relocations, the Global Financial Crisis, the rise of international online book retailers, and the COVID-19 pandemic, the latest strain in their business has made them rethink their priorities as a family. 

“For us, it has been an incredible journey to this point, and it has been a pleasure to have shared our passion of books with you all – we take away so many wonderful memories and experiences, and for that we thank you,” the owners said.

“We hope that we created a unique experience for you when visiting our bookstore – a haven away from the busyness of life, where you could be inspired, excited or challenged by what lies between the front and back cover of a book.  Being with books daily, and talking about books with our customers, has been an extraordinary experience which we will greatly miss.”

The beloved bookstore, which was first located on Elizabeth Street in the CBD, was known for its unique, offbeat titles across genres, from philosophy to architecture. Since it opened in 1979, Folio Books stuck with its business model for the next four decades as the only bookstore in Brisbane that doesn’t sell notepads, cards, stationery, or office and school items  — just books. 

Folio Books to Relocate Due to Mary Street Building Demolition

A specialty bookstore patronised by all types of readers in Brisbane is temporarily scaling down its operations as it looks for a new home. Folio Books has to relocate as soon as possible because its seven-year lease on Mary Street has been terminated.

The owner of the CBD building on Mary Street plans to demolish the site to make way for a 23-level office tower with food and drink outlets on the ground floor. Property manager ARA Private Funds lodged the development application in September 2020 (DA A005559278) but Council has yet to make a decision. 

Folio Books, however, said that their landlord informed them in mid-March to vacate the site so they had to suspend gift voucher sales and online trading. 

Photo Credit: Darshan Pandya/Google Maps

“All online orders are currently suspended due to our shop having to relocate after April, due to the building being demolished,” the bookstore owners wrote on their website. “Please email us at or call us on 07 3210 0500 for all enquiries.”

Earlier, the bookstore operators said that they could close the store for a period of time as they set up a still-undetermined new venue.

Pre-COVID, it was usual to find booklovers loitering at this Mary Street bookstore to browse its extensive book hard-to-find book collection. When the pandemic struck, Folio Books successfully shifted to online service and offered free deliveries for more than two book purchases.

Meanwhile, RACQ has written to the Council about the planned redevelopment of the Mary Street location. Whilst RACQ is not opposed to the new building, it has raised concerns about the bulk of the planned tower and the potential disruption of the sightlines on Edward Street.