Eslite was established in 1989. The first shop was located in Dunhua South Road, Daan District, Taipei, with a focus and emphasis on art and humanities-related books. Since then, the company has expanded and set up more shops and increased its range of titles on offer. Eslite Bookstore was the first to set up a 24-hour bookstore in Taiwan at its Dunhua store, attracting night-time readers.
Eslite also expanded into retail, and opened up Eslite Mall.
2002: Eslite Retail group and Transportation group combined into Life group, introduced Eslite's operation motto as humanity, art, creativity, and life.
At midnight on January 1, 2006, Eslite's new flagship bookstore, located in Taipei's Xinyi District, opened for business. With about 8,000m² of floorspace, it became the largest bookstore chain in Taiwan.
In July 2014, Eslite Hong Kong pulled Tibet-related books off its shelves out of political concerns. Taiwanese media reported that Eslite Taiwan issued an in-company document prohibiting its workers to make comments about the company on social media without approval.