Moving to a new city (read: new country) comes with the added bonus to discover and explore new bookstores. As I happened to have some spare time in the first few weeks, I explored in excess and happened upon some bookstores that I quickly found myself falling in love with.
The first thing I discovered when I looked up the various bookstores in Edinburgh was that there are a lot of them. The second thing that most of them are independent bookstores. It happens to be that both of those things make me very very happy. I decided on two beautiful, albeit different, independent bookshops that stood out to me (and which I am definitely visiting again).
Golden Hare Books
Golden Hare Books is my number one favorite in the city! It has the most beautiful storefront I have ever had the pleasure of seeing. I went there on #BookshopDay (hence the ‘Books are my Bag’ flags) and slowly browsed my way through the store.
They have a ‘Blind date with a Book’ wall that tempted me mercilessly and have baked treats throughout the store that you can nibble on (their peanut butter brownies are to die for!). The ambiance is incredibly pleasant, with music playing softly in the background and seats to sit down and read. Golden Hare Books is a paradise for book lovers and definitely worth a visit if you’re visiting the city or just find yourself in the neighborhood.
Lighthouse Bookshop is another independent bookshop you don’t want to miss out on. They market themselves as left-leaning and politically engaged, and when you step into the store you can see they truly are. They celebrate diversity, equality and free speech throughout the store and provide marginalized as well as mainstream books. My favorite discovery was the way they described YA books. They have a little sign on their shelves that states: “YA (Young Adult) is a genre melting category full of brilliant, challenging crossover books & authors, check it out.” Isn’t that the best description any YA reader can wish for?
Why you should support your local independent bookstore(s)
I do hope that if you ever find yourself in Edinburgh you’ll take the time to visit these indie stores. Do remember that bookshops like these are cultural assets: they support and promote (local) authors, they champion reading and work with the community. It’s independent bookshops like these that make buying books such fun and the city would certainly be a poorer place without them, so make sure you support them by buying a book (or two, or three).
Furthermore, to put things a bit more in perspective: the number of independent bookstores has halved in the past 11 years. In 2005 there were 1,535 independent bookstores, and in 2017 the number of independent bookshops has gone down to 867 (The Bookseller). So be sure to support yours!