Customer looking at a book in an Edinburgh Bookshop

Edinburgh's 5 Best Independent Bookshops

If you're anything like us, you've probably felt a wee bit guilty about buying books from online distributors instead of supporting local stores. In order to save you from book buying purgatory, we've compiled a list of a few of Edinburgh's best independent bookshops. And don't worry, we've popped in a few second-hand options for those of us who are a little bit more conscious of both our purses and the environment ♻️


Rare Bird Books - Stockbridge 📌

First up we have Rare Bird Books, which stands as an ode to the world of female literature. The store champions female authors, selling new books and releases written almost exclusively by female authors. In a publishing world which has historically favoured male works, we think that Rare Bird Books are a breath of fresh air. 



The shop also has a book club that sends you a new read directly to your home each month, from a choice of two recent releases. The catch is: you make your choice based on the blurbs alone, as the title and cover are hidden! What is that phrase, don't judge a book by its... never mind. If you're stumped as to what to buy the book lovers in your life this Christmas... you're welcome.  

If you're at a loss of what to read next, look no further than the Rare Birds Books blog, Chatter! Although, our ever-growing TBR (that stands for 'to be read' list for you non book folk out there) needs no encouragement.


13a Raeburn Place 
Mon - Sat 10:00 - 17:30
Sunday 11:00 - 17:00


Topping and Co. - Calton Hill 📌

If you're on the hunt for an independent that can match the selection of books available at larger chain stores, Topping and Company is your best bet. A labyrinth (we love a Greek mythology reference) of wooden floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and rolling ladders, Toppings has everything from art and design to biographies and memoirs. 



The store is known for its vast array of signed editions and regular book talks/ signings from up-and-coming authors. In fact, our intern Toni went to a book signing hosted by Topping and Co. just last month! This is what she had to say about it: 

"I recently went to a talk and book signing by Florence Given for the release of her latest book 'Girl Crush'. Everyone who attended received a signed copy of the book and listened to a discussion about the book between the author and editor, before getting their books signed by Florence. The event ran perfectly! I've been recommending Topping and Co.'s events to everyone since! 😊"

(psssst! A little FYI... Topping and Co. are rumoured to serve free tea and coffee to anyone who hangs around their store for long enough 😉)  


2 Blenheim Place
Mon - Sun 9:00-21:00


The Edinburgh Bookshop - Bruntsfield 📌

Calling all dog AND book lovers: The Edinburgh Bookshop has its very own canine employee, Miss Betty, to serve both your literary and emotional needs.  

Along with having an impressive selection of children's reads, the store hosts story time sessions for children under five, and a variety of book clubs for younger readers. We don't know about you, but we would have loved to have had a bookish community like this as kids!! 



(Side note for anyone past legal drinking age: they have a great selection for you too!)


219 Bruntsfield Place
EH10 4DH 
Mon - Sat 10:00 - 17:00
Sun 11:00 - 16:00


Armchair Books - Grassmarket 📌

If you've spent more than five minutes on Instagram it's pretty likely that you'll have come across this spot before. This quaint bookstore is absolutely filled to the rafters with preloved books. With the shelves practically groaning under the weight of their extensive collection, you'd really be doing them a favour to pop in (as if we need an excuse to buy more books 😉). 



It's worth noting that although the shop is not renowned for carrying newer releases, if you're on the market for a classic, this is most definitely the place for you. 

Hot take: no one needs to buy a new edition of a classic when bookshops like Armchair exist! 


72 West Port 
Mon - Sun 10:30 - 18:30


St Columba's Hospice Care Bookshop - Cannonmills 📌 

Last, but by no means least, we have St Columba's Hospice Care Bookshop.

We think this has got to be one of the best second-hand bookshops in the city (especially if you're on the hunt for a more recent release).

The shop is a bit more light and airy than most second-hand stores, meaning that it is slightly easier to browse for your next read. Also, all proceeds go to charity! That's what we'd call two birds with one book.


14 - 15 Brandon Terrace


 Mon - Sat 10:00 - 16:00


So that's it! Our non-conclusive list of the best bookstores in Edinburgh. If we've missed out on any hidden gems, make sure to let us know in the comment section of our most recent reel on Instagram. Happy book shopping everyone 👏🎉 


Now that you're literarily fulfilled, you'll probably be needing a wee beverage to sip on. Look no further!

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