I can close my eyes and walk once again down Princess Street in Edinburgh on my way to Laura Ashley to buy a plaid jumper and blouse (2T) for my first grandchild. Then on to St. Mary’s Church where I found the painting I was looking for with a fascinating story. The painting is called The Presence. Later I was given a print copy of the painting, which hangs on a wall and means the world to me. If only I had turned in at The OLD TOWN BOOKSHOP, booksellers of antiquarian maps, prints, Scottish material, and fine art monographs. The bookshop is situated in the heart of Edinburgh’s historic Old Town in a 16th-century medieval granary store originally used to supply Edinburgh Castle. Nearby is St. Giles’ Cathedral, Greyfriar’s Kirkyard and the castle itself, providing settings for some of Scotland’s best writers including R.L.S. Stevenson and Sir Walter Scott.
Edinburgh thinks of itself as the first city of literature. You know some of its famous writers, Robert Burns, Robert Lewis Stevenson and Arthur Conan Doyle along with contemporary writers, JK Rowling, Alexander McCall Smith and Iain Rankin who sets his Inspector Rebus detective series in the city.
Start your bookshop tour in Edinburgh with The Old Town Bookshop who cater to the literary enthusiast and well-read tourist since 1978 with an eclectic range of books and art. On to Elvis Shakespeare where you will find selected literature and music. Local poets, authors or musicians are found debuting their work. Analogue Books on Candlemaker Row specializes in unique books of art and graphics and magazines on various themes. Armchair Books is a comfortable, worn-in bookshop lined from floor to ceiling with fiction and antiquarian books. World Power Bookshop probably isn’t my cup of tea but is known for its selection of left-wing, activist reading, but this is a good place to find local Scottish publishers.
You can join thousands of book lovers at the annual Edinburgh International Book Festival in this beautiful city and explore other unique, independent bookshops specializing in their owner’s interests. I will leave you with, Robert Burns who will have you putting the book world of Edinburgh on your travel/bookstore list.