Lighthouse Radical Bookshop, Edinburgh

Contact:

43-45 W Nicolson Street
Newington
Edinburgh
EH8 9DB
Telephone: 0131 662 9112
Website: https://lighthousebookshop.com/
Twitter: @lighthousebks
Instagram: @lighthousebks
Facebook: @LighthouseBks

Another of my favourite Edinburgh bookshops, I do try to pop in as often as I can whenever I get up to visit.

I’ve always felt that Word Power Books and then Lighthouse Books carried on the important traditions of Lavender Menace and a large metropolitan city such as Edinburgh should have radical bookshops, to both educate and challenge.

You’re always sure of a couple of things, great service and a pile of interesting books, I especially love the changing collection of zines.

Now more than ever, with the rise of popularism and the right, shops such as Lighthouse Bookshop need our support to help keep up the fight.


If you want to help and support this blog and my other projects (Indie Publishers and Big Bearded Bookseller) you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.

McNab’s Books, Barnard Castle

Contact:

11-13 Market Place
Barnard Castle
County Durham
Dl12 8NF
Telephone: 07547931296
Website: www.mcnabsbooks.com
Twitter: @McNabsBooks
Instagram: @mcnabsbooks
Facebook: @McNabsBooks

Barnard Castle is one of our favourite stretches out from Darlington, some great shops and places to eat, and the incredible Bowes Museum.

So it was great to see the old Curlews bookshop get an update and be linked to the cafe next door now all called McNab’s.

Due to lockdown though we weren’t really travelling a lot but got the chance a few days ago to visit, and it has changed a lot! No more looming bookcases that seemed to lean over you filled with second-hand books. The whole inside seems to have been opened out and lightened making it a great place to sit with a cake (which was huge and tasty) and a well-made cup of coffee whilst perusing the books.

Had a lovely chat with the owners and their plans sound really fun, so keep an eye out on their website for more info.

I’m also glad to report I found a second-hand copy of Robert Silverberg short stories whilst there which took me right back to my teens.


If you want to help and support this blog and my other projects (Indie Publishers and Big Bearded Bookseller) you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.

Forum Books, Corbridge

Contact:

The Chapel
Market Place
Corbridge
Northumberland
NE45 5AW
Telephone: 01434 632 931
Website: https://www.forumbooksshop.com/
Twitter: @forumbooks
Instagram: @forumbookscorbridge
Facebook: @forumbookscorbridge

For me this was the bookshop that started all this *waves hands vaguely* off, not sure if I want to thank them or not 😉

We pop in every time we go up the A68 to Edinburgh and are always met with great energy and a lovely surrounding that it has become the main point of stopping off in Corbridge.

I’ve always had great recommends from all the staff here, and got the same from their pop-up at The Biscuit Factory, and so looking forward to visiting their new bookshop in Whitley Bay, ‘the bound’.


If you want to help and support this blog and my other projects (Indie Publishers and Big Bearded Bookseller) you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.

The Whitby Bookshop, Whitby

Contact:

88 Church Street
Whitby
YO22 4BH
Telephone: 01947 606202
Website: https://www.whitbybookshop.co.uk/
Twitter: @thewhitbybooks1
Instagram: @whitbybookshop
Facebook: @thewhitbybooks1

It’s been a while since I’ve been to Whitby, a town I used to visit so regularly and not just during Goth weeks 🙂

Always when I visit though I have to go to The Whitby Bookshop, mainly to see whether or not I’m still brave enough to go up that wonderful staircase…

The last few times I’ve visited the poetry books that are stocked here have drawn my fancy, they usually have a good selection of local books and a nice non-fiction selection upstairs.

So looking forward to getting out to Whitby once more, a poetry book and some fish and chips on the beach.


If you want to help and support this blog and my other projects (Indie Publishers and Big Bearded Bookseller) you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.

Golden Hare Books, Edinburgh

Contact:

68 St Stephen St
Stockbridge
Edinburgh
EH3 5AQ
Telephone: 0131 225 7755
Website: https://goldenharebooks.com/
Twitter: @GoldenHareBooks
Instagram: @goldenharebooks
Facebook: @GoldenHareBooks

I’ve family that live on St Stephen Street, so it was brilliant when an independent bookshop opened there, and it’s been wonderful watching it develop over the years.

Just down from the centre of Edinburgh in the bustling Stockbridge area, Golden Hare Books has three beautifully decorated rooms full of wonderfully curated books across a large range of genres, but I really notice the independent publishers that they champion.

I have forgiven them for introducing me to Charco Press

Always a great welcome and perfect service and this also comes across in their social media which is well worth a follow.

Looking forward to visiting when I get back up to Edinburgh in June (2021).


If you want to help and support this blog and my other projects (Indie Publishers and Big Bearded Bookseller) you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.

Adventure into Books, Blairgowrie

Adventure into Books

Adventure into Books

I’ve always thought it was incredibly brave to open up a bookshop considering all the difficulties inherent in the business, but Kate and Ralph have decided to open one in hard mode in the middle of the first lockdown of 2020.

It’s been a while since I visited Blairgowrie (198… ok let’s just leave that) but a bookshop is always a great excuse to return to a town.

Adventure into Books
26 Wellmeadow
Blairgowrie
PH10 6AS
Telephone: 01250 872852

Website: www.adventureintobooks.co.uk
Facebook: @adventureintobooks
Instagram: @adventureintobooks

In their own words

How did you come up with the name of your bookshop?


Adventure into books: It had to say ‘books’ and describe the feeling of choosing and reading a book – also helps on listings that it starts with ‘A’.

Who are you? Owns the bookshop? Bit of a bio and pics, please


I’m Kate (Kate Davies), and I own the bookshop, which I run with the help of my husband, Ralph Baillie. I had long held a thought to open a bookshop, and when I found myself in the lovely Perthshire town of Blairgowrie, I reckoned it was time to make that idea a reality. The golden thread for me is words: always a lover of books, I ran a school magazine, then built a career around writing (for businesses), and am now delighted to be bringing words to other people. (My brother warned me that I did actually have to sell the books in my shop – not just read them myself)

General background/history of the shop please


We opened on 2 July 2020. An interesting year to learn a whole new trade. But we enjoyed and survived our first 6 months, and we’re looking forward to celebrating our first birthday in the summer!

Do you stock a variety of genres or do you specialise?


We try to have something for everyone, but as we’re fairly small the focus is on children, fiction (general, crime/thriller, sci-fi/fantasy, classics, poetry), local (fiction and non-fiction: histories, maps, walking etc), and non-fiction (big emphasis on histories, biographies, through to the natural world). We try to make sure we have a good selection of Scottish books – local authors, books set in Scotland etc.

Do you mainly sell new or second-hand books?


New books.

What makes your bookshop special?


It’s early days, but the bookshop complements the town. There are lots of bibliophiles in the area: we have a great literary festival (in normal times), a community-run second-hand bookshop, a good library, and a Christian bookshop. And it is a town with schools, lots of independent shops, a thriving sense of community and (usually) a good flow of visitors – we seek to support all of this. We see ourselves as a service.

What’s the hardest thing about being a bookseller?

Juggling all the things that need to be done and trying to find time to read books.

What’s the best thing about being a bookseller?


People – we get to help people looking for that special gift, we get to share special moments like the arrival of a first grandchild, and for many of the books we sell, we get a story in return. Joy.

What’s the most surprising thing about being a bookseller?


People – from all walks of life.

What are the goals for your bookshop?


To spread words and contribute to the town.

Do you think owning a bookshop has changed your life? How?


I’ve become way more sociable! Which is saying something in a pandemic year.

What book do you wish would sell better?


My husband would say David Attenborough’s A Life on Our Planet – very well written and an essential message.

I would say Along The Amber Route by CJ Schuler – not so much for teaching me about amber, but for teaching me about the changing nature of borders and challenging our concept of ‘country’.

What little-known book do you think is underrated?


It’s not underrated (I’ve only ever had good feedback on it), but I would love more people to know about Threads of Life by Clare Hunter. A fascinating history of textiles and sewing and the cultural and economic importance this has played through the years.

What well-known book do you think is overrated?


Shuggie Bain – way too long and repetitive. There is a story arc in it but it just gets lost.

What is your preferred reading genre?


Everything.

Describe your store in three words.


Light, bright, welcoming.

What book is your greatest treasure? Why?


I have too many ‘treasures’ (just had to buy another bookcase at home)– but the one that gets most work is my Thesaurus. It’s helped me earn a living as a writer.

What was your favourite childhood book? Why?


Heidi – scary in its uncertainty then comforting.

If you could invite any author for a book signing at your shop, who would you choose?


David Attenborough and Rachel Joyce (loved her book ‘Miss Benson’s Beetle’)

Where do you think the biggest change in book publishing will come from?

Diversity of voice – race, gender, age and background.

Diversity of format – printed books, graphics, audio, ebooks ….. virtual reality?

How do you reach potential readers/customers?


Shop window works amazingly well; but also Facebook and Instagram (working up to Twitter), our website, the town website, the local papers and the local quarterly Hub magazine. We’ve also taken orders while out walking on a Sunday in the local woods….

How do you choose the books you stock?

Mixture of what’s selling well, our customer mix, recommendations, press blurb, gut instinct.

Do you have a favourite publisher? Why?


Just getting to know them; but do love our local Perth publisher – Tippermuir Books. Not mainstream, but a delight to work with.

Name three books on your TBR.


Olive Again; The Boundless Sea; The Evening and the Morning

What are you reading at the moment?


Just finished Fragile Monsters (Catherine Menon) – good book for a book club; now starting into Girl A.

What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned from selling books?


I learn something every day and hope I continue to do so.

What music, if any, do you play in your shop? Why?


We don’t. It would be jazz if we did…. But that’s too distracting.

What is the best book-related gift you’ve ever received?


A badge depicting books, which a friend gave me when we opened the shop, and a book-festooned cushion made by my business mentor (and quilter), again for our opening.

What is the weirdest thing a customer has ever asked for?


‘Do you know where I can get a mouse trap?’ Or, more related ‘could you find me a book about Welsh copper mining and slavery in the 16th century?’ – we did! Two of them!

What do you get up to in a normal bookselling day?


A bit of everything: chatting with customers, selling books, ordering books, paying bills, posting something on FB, speaking with publishers, speaking with the local paper, updating the websites, making decorations for the next window display….

What is the nicest thing a customer has ever said to you?

That they love our bookshop and can they distribute some our catalogues so their friends know about us!


If you want to help and support this blog and my other projects (Indie Publishers and Big Bearded Bookseller) you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.