A UNESCO City of Literature and the location for the world-famous Edinburgh International Book Festival, the Scottish capital is a destination that needs to be on every book lovers bucket list. Home to noted authors such as Ian Rankin, Alexander McCall Smith, Alanna Knight, and many more, the city is a cultural melting pot that attracts readers and writers wanting to bask in Edinburgh's literary heritage. Adding to the allure of the town are the many bookstores in Edinburgh that promise a magical escape packed with unusual finds in enchanting surroundings.
Typewronger Books is a rarity in the business, exclusive, and brimming with curios that should appeal to both the reader and writer in you. The bookstore is owned and run by Tom, an enthusiastic bookseller who previously worked in Paris at Shakespeare and Co., and now repairs and sells typewriters. Typewronger has both an exclusive collection of curated novels and refurbished typewriters for sale. One of the most unique bookstores in Edinburgh, Typewronger's most-loved attraction is Tweetwronger, a vintage Adler typewriter connected to Twitter.
A visit to Portobello Bookshop requires a 20-minute drive from the center of the city, but it comes with the added opportunity of taking your newly bought novels to the beach for a read. A real hidden gem amongst the bookstores of Edinburgh, the independently owned shop started operations in 2019 and is already a favorite of the local community. The bookstore has a chic, open design with ample space to browse freely. The book collection at Portobello Bookshop consists of over 8000 titles covering the latest releases from multiple genres. The bookstore also hosts literary events regularly, allowing readers to interact with each other and local authors.
If the name alone isn't enough to intrigue you, the diverse collection of hard-to-find vinyl and books inside this eccentric shop should do the trick. A common theme across several of the best bookstores in Edinburgh is the nostalgic aura flowing through their walls and bookshelves. Elvis Shakespeare, stacked with a limited yet diverse selection to impress the most ardent of bookworms, is no different. While it is easy to spend hours in the shop browsing, readers should use some of that time conversing with the staff who are a treasure-trove of information on everything music and books.
Main Point Books is an essential stop in Old Town when exploring the many bookstores of Edinburgh. Featuring an extensive collection of second-hand books, every visit to this charming destination promises new discoveries amidst rows and rows of bargain novels and collectibles. Moreover, first-time writers can approach Jennie Renton, the proprietor, for editing, design, typesetting, and book management services to get their stories out in print.
There is no dearth of iconic bookstores in Edinburgh. Golden Hare Books, Edinburgh Books, Scotland's oldest second-hand bookshop McNaughtan's, and Till's Bookshop have been featured repeatedly in media over the years. Armchair Books is another name that pops up regularly, not just in independent bookseller lists but also as one of the most Instgrammable bookshops in the world. Walking through its book-filled interiors is like entering an enchanted realm inhabited by stories from far and wide. You'll find every possible genre here amongst floor to ceiling shelves of second-hand books. Just make sure you don't lose track of time, for hours seem like minutes when browsing inside Armchair Books.
Specialty bookstores are a delight, letting readers discover more obscure and unknown titles from a particular genre. With Transreal Fiction, lovers of science fiction and fantasy are in for a memorable treat. Don't let the small size of the store deter you, inside, it covers every inch of wall space possible to hold a variety of local and international titles, some of which you would never have heard of before. There is also a small section reserved for science fiction merchandise, but according to owner Mike Calder, "it's all about books." If you believe in supporting independent booksellers who go out of their way to please their readers, don't miss visiting Transreal Fiction when traveling through Edinburgh.