Are you a bookworm looking for your next read? Here are 10 top independent bookstores in Scotland you should visit!
1. Good Press
Opened in 2011, Good Press in Glasgow is a small, independent bookshop aiming to support small, independent publishing. They carry books on art, comics, design, music and photography. They also support publishing through their Sunday’s print service and open access studio.
If you fancy a new book or magazine each month, why not sign up to their 6-month subscription service? All you have to do is fill in an order form with your information and they’ll send you something brand new and truly independent each month. Contact them with more information about this cool and quirky shop!
One of the few second-hand, family-run bookshops in Glasgow, Caledonia Books was opened in 1986 to provide a place for book lovers to find that quality, rare used book they’ve been looking for. Caledonia Books curates titles on a variety of subjects but they particularly focus on books related to Scotland or other local interests, philosophy, art, military, or academic topics.
Whether you’re a student looking to sell back your college and university textbooks or a book lover just looking to thin your collection, Caledonia Books is willing to consider buying them. They’re especially interested in buying out-of-print books and collections, vintage maps, rare books and collectors’ items. They’ll even buy notable letters, cards and memorabilia. Contact them to find out more about how you can buy, sell, or trade at their shop today!
If you are looking for a shop specialising in LGBTQ+ literature, check out Category is Books in the Govanhill area of Glasgow. Opened in 2018, Category is Books curates and sells books, graphic novels and magazines written by or about LGBTQ+ interests or topics. The genres vary as much as the topics, including everything from autobiographies to science-fiction to children’s books.
Not only does Category is Books provide books and articles about LGBTQ+ writers and interests, they also host events which aim to supporting them, including lecture series, workshops, film screenings, and author-related events. Contact them to find out more about this fiercely independent bookshop and how you can check them out.
4. Abbey Books
In nearby Paisley, you’ll find Abbey Books, a quaint, independent bookstore which has been housed in different shopfronts all over Paisley since opening in the 1980s. Now owned by George Bell, Abbey Books carries over 40,000 titles, including poetry, fiction, drama, art, music, children’s stories and even sheet music. You can even pick up the complete collection of the Star Trek series on VHS (for the right price, of course).
Check out their inventory using the search page or contact them to find out how to stop by to search their shelves for your next favourite read. If they don’t have what you’re looking for, they can always order it!
If you find yourself in Edinburgh, check out Golden Hare Books, opened in 2012 in the Stockbridge area of Edinburgh. Sticking to their smaller, indie bookshop ethos, Golden Hare Books cares only 2,000 titles in stock but their topics and genres range from lifestyle and travel to popular adult fiction to young adult and children’s books.
Golden Hare Books advertises events all-year round, including author talks and book launches, a monthly book club and a weekly drop-in children’s story hour. Contact them to see when you can check out this cool little shop in the heart of Edinburgh’s Fringe literary scene.
Also in Edinburgh is the Lighthouse bookshop, originally opened in 1994 as Word Power Books. Lighthouse prides itself on supporting prominent social justice issues, particularly those involving Scottish politics, women and the LGBTQ+ community. While they focus on activism, Lighthouse sells books on all sorts of topics, from art and crafts to STEM and travel writing.
Lighthouse hosts events all year-long, bringing writers, poets and lecturers from all over the world to do book signings and discussion panels They also participate in local book events, such as May Day Book Fair, Edinburgh Book Fringe Festival and the Radical Book Fair. Contact them to find out more about their collection and their mission.
Opened in 2012 by children’s publishers Vanessa and Malcom Robertson, The Edinburgh Bookshop carries all the best new and popular fiction and nonfiction for readers of all ages, from children to adults. Their 6-person team are each expert in their chosen literary genre, from children and young adult to graphic and classic novels; they can answer any question you might have or offer a recommendation if you aren’t sure what to read next. And if you want something they don’t have, they will even special-order books for you; just fill out the online form!
The Edinburgh Bookshop hosts four book club events each month, as well as author events such as book signings and panel discussions. Contact them to find out what’s next on and how you can join the book club newsletter!
If you find yourself in Aberdeen, check out the Old Aberdeen Bookshop, a second-hand independent bookshop open since 2000. They carry over 7,000 used books in their collection, including academic texts, classic literature, modern literature, as well as Scottish and local interest books.
Not only can you buy second-hand books from the Old Aberdeen Bookshop; you can sell your used books there, too. They are particularly interested in purchasing rare books or books that focus on topics such as: Scottish and local interest, natural history, theology, military and politics. Contact them to see if they’ll take your second-hand books or to see if they have what you’re looking for.
Also in Aberdeen, Books and Beans was originally opened by Craig Willox in 2003 to provide “great coffee, fresh food and quality books” to the local community. They carry a large variety of books covering a range of topics and genres, from popular contemporary fiction to science fiction and fantasy to poetry and children’s books.
For the ‘beans’ part of their name, their café serves a full range of coffee and tea, as well as a full breakfast menu, including American-style pancakes, omelettes, baps and other British classics. They also serve lunch items such as sandwiches, paninis, burgers and chips. You can grab a bite to eat or a cuppa while waiting to attend one of their popular author discussion or poetry reading events. More questions? Contact them to find out more!
If you find yourself in Dundee, check out Bookhouse in Broughty Ferry. Originally opened in Monifieth in 2017, The Bookhouse has been Dundee’s family-owned indie bookshop since 2020. They carry books for adults, young adults and children, including graphic novels. They also do special orders if you are looking for that special title they don’t have.
The Bookhouse also hosts book clubs for adults and juniors, and if you’re a table-top gamer, they also carry table-top gaming books and materials for your next campaign. Contact them to find out what else they have going on and how to check them out next time you’re in town.