Continuing our monthly feature of Scottish independent bookshops.
This is one of my personal favourites! When I studied in Edinburgh last year I was fortunate enough to be based in the Merchiston campus – a mere 3 minute walk from this intimate, friendly bookshop. The bookshop boasts a regular programme of events including ‘big name authors as well as writer’s workshops and story-time for the under 5’s’. They also have a children’s bookgroup, and provide support for adult bookgroups.
The Edinburgh Bookshop has also won quite a few accolades, including The Scottish Independent Retail Award for
“Best Independent Bookshop” in 2012. It was also featured in the The Independent’s “50 Best Bookshops”. On their website, they say that their emphasis is on ‘unusual, intelligent and topical selections of titles to offer the customer a clever and refreshing choice’. They certainly do that!
Bookshop: The Edinburgh Bookshop
Owner: Marie Moser
Location: 219 Bruntsfield Place, Edinburgh, EH10 4DH
Open Since: 2007
How did you get into bookselling in the first place?
I have briefly worked for The Edinburgh International Book Festival and James Thin in the past, but really I am just a booklover, who lived locally and jumped at the chance to take over the shop.
What sort of books do you sell?
A wide range for both Adults and Children. We try to edit our choices to include a selection of great classics and the best of new titles – as well as quite a few books which make it in just because they sound really interesting!
What’s popular at the moment?
Adult titles: Hannah Kent’s Burial Rites, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah, Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty First Century” and Andrew Greig’s Fair Helen.
Children’s titles: Jonny Duddle’s Giagantosaurus, Michael Buckley’s Sisters Grimm and William Sutcliffe’s Circus of Thieves.
Have you got your eye on a book at the moment?
Louise Welsh – A Lovely Way to Burn. A cracking page turner – I read it in one delightful sitting.
What makes an Indy bookshop better than an online or chain retailer?
The personal touch and the Booksellers’ knowledge and advice. We can help you find the perfect book for you or the person you are buying for. We’re also on your doorstep (if you live in Edinburgh), and can get you almost any book within 48 hours.
Aside from selling books, what else goes on in the bookshop?
- Storytime for the under-5’s twice a week – a riotous start to the day!
- A monthly Book Club for Children aged 7-16 where they can talk about what they’ve been reading and find out about new titles.
- Two or three author events every month across a range of Adult fiction and biography.
- We also like to dress up and join in for World Book Day, Red Nose Day etc. I’ve already been a pirate with underpants over my trousers and come to work in my pyjamas, and I’ve only had the shop for 18 months!
Do you have any weird and wonderful bookshop stories to share?
Most of our weird ones are featured in “Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops” – Jen Campbell used to work for us !
For me, dealing with our younger customers is very rewarding– and I am very touched to realise that, for some of them, coming to the Bookshop is a big part of their lives. At Christmas, one five-year-old insisted on coming in to show me his letter to Santa before he sent it – I was welling up! Another has called his dog after a character in his favourite picture book.
Do you have any interesting events coming up?
We are very excited to be doing an event with Ruth Thomas in May – as she is one of our favourite hand-sells. Her book, The Home Corner, is wry and witty – so the event should be a real joy.
What does the next year hold for the Edinburgh Bookshop?
Continuing to try and offer the best customer experience and service we can. Building on what we already do in-store, and improving our events programme – especially for children and schools.
You should get yourself down there and have a browse at what’s on offer! They are open Monday – Friday 10-6pm, Saturday 9-6pm and Sunday 11-4pm.
Follow The Edinburgh Bookshop on Twitter @EdinBookshop or on Facebook.