In Edinburgh we are so well off for independent bookshops and those selling second hand books if I covered them all the post would be huge. I plan to ignore the second hand bookshops, of which there are many, with the exception of the charity ones. Oxfam has a dedicated bookshop at 120 Nicholson St and Banardos one at 45 Clerk St, both in Newington and St Columba’s Hospice1 one in Montague St, Goldenacre. I have included a link that will lead you to most of the rest2 but even then I do not promise to cover every place in the city that sells books.
Blackwell’s3 on South Bridge is not a multinational! Somewhere I can actually use without compromising my principles! The firm was founded by the first city librarian in Oxford and still has a family member helping run it. It also has an online service.4
Word Power5 is an independent radical bookshop and publisher on West Nicholson Street, it too has an online service. The Edinburgh Bookshop6 on Holy Corner in Bruntsfield is mainly for children and their parents; they have an online catalogue and a book ordering service but don’t appear to have online buying. Looking Glass Books7 in Simpson’s Loan is a cafe/bookshop combo which works really well, they put on author events and have a book club.
Avizandum8 is not a spell out of a Harry Potter Book but a Scot’s Law term. It is a bookshop on Candlemaker Row specialising in Law books, Scots Law in particular and it also offers an online buying service. It is a publisher too. Transreal Fiction9 up the road from it specialises in science fiction and fantasy. It is a member of the Hive10 online service which helps independent booksellers and has its own blog. Beyond Words11 on Cockburn St is a specialist in photographic books from all round the world, it has its own blog and offers an online buying service.
If you are in Stockbridge there is always Golden Hare Books12 on St Stephen’s St, it has a book group, events, a blog and a gallery! The bookshop in The Scottish Story Telling Centre13 is good; it is based in John Knox’s House on The Royal Mile which has its own history. The Cornerstone Bookshop14 under St John’s at the West End of Princes St is independent and ecumenical. It has a blog and it’s also a member of the Hive online service. There are other Christian bookshops but I am unsure if they independent so I am just giving you a link.15
Waterstones16 is probably the most heard of bookseller in the UK but guess what it is a MNC. It has stores in the UK, Ireland, Belgium and the Netherlands. Alexander Mamut, a Russian Billionaire owns it through his company A&NN Capital Fund Management.
WH Smith17 are also a multinational. It has a shop in Paris and airport shops in India, China, Europe, Australia, The Middle East and South East Asia.
I am not even going to mention the mega present online bookseller18 as it typifies all that is wrong with multinationals. It is taking business from everybody, has taken money from the Scottish Executive19 for setting up centres of distribution in Dundee and customer services in Edinburgh and is NOT paying its fair share of tax!20