We are an independent general bookshop in Edinburgh – left leaning and politically engaged, we are a shelter for bibliophiles, an oasis for curious minds and a platform for open discourse.

Our shelves are home to all sorts of books, from politics, history, fiction and travel writing to Children’s books, tattoo art and cookery. We work hard to keep our whole range interesting, and are particularly passionate about radical, left wing and Scottish politics, revolutionary history, environmentalism, LGBT+ writing, poetry and translated fiction.

There has been a bookshop on West Nicolson Street for over 30 years – the Lighthouse is a new incarnation of the Word Power bookshop Elaine Henry opened here in 1994. We are still home to Word Power Books, an independent Scottish publisher. We celebrate diversity of thought and expression, and encourage readers to engage with ideas both from the margins and mainstream. Our aim is to challenge dominant and domineering ideologies and champion diversity, equality, sustainability and free speech.


Who am I?
Elaine’s departure in 2017 marked the end of an era, but also the beginning of a new one. My name is Mairi, I am Scot – though I grew up abroad- and I have been peddling books for independent bookshops for almost a decade. Over the years, readers may have met me in Sydney at The Constant Reader, behind the counter at the Golden Hare in Edinburgh and since 2014 running the day to day at Topping & Company Booksellers in St Andrews.

Since returning to Scotland in 2007 Word Power has been a regular haunt of mine, a place to find and buy books on queer politics, activism, little known poetry, Palestine, feminism and much more. Books that simply didn’t live on the shelves in any other bookshop.

Keeping the bookshop alive is therefore a labour of love, a chance to usher in a new age for a radical bookshop that remains sorely needed.

At the moment we’re a team of two, myself and Matt- a passionate bookseller, bee keeper and literary fiction nut with many other strings to his bow, you’re all going to love him.