Communicate with us
- 0131 662 9112
Find us on the high streetLighthouse - Edinburgh's Radical Bookshop
43-45 West Nicolson Street
Edinburgh, Scotland, EH8 9DB
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We are OPEN, and continuing to offer delivery or collection.
Monday to Saturday 10.00am - 8pm
Sunday 11.30am - 5pm
Face masks are still required for audiences during events (unless exempt) and will continue to be worn by our staff.
Do you accept National Book Tokens?
Yes we do! We can redeem them in person in the shop, although National Book Tokens do not have a plugin for indie bookshop websites, so if you'd like to redeem online, please email us your voucher number and what books you are after and we can do that manually. If you're in a hurry they can also be redeemed through our bookshop.org page, just make sure we're your chosen bookshop so that we still get a cut of the sale.
We do also have our own vouchers too!
Can I order online to collect?
We will notify you when your books are ready to collect.
How long does it take for online orders to arrive?
Books ordered through the website are processed Monday-Friday, and we aim to have them posted within 2 working days.
We send our parcels second class (unless otherwise requested), so they should take 2-3 days to reach you from point of posting.
If you are Edinburgh, within the bypass, your books will go out by Bike Courier (Farr Out ) who collect on Wednesdays and deliver on Thursday/Friday.
If your parcel takes any longer than a week please do reach out and we'll get you an update as soon as we can, as well as pass on the royal mail tracking number so that you can chase up your local sorting office if that's the issue.
Please note: we are unable to refund orders while tracking is 'live' and an order is still logged as out for delivery with the post office (usually in the first 3 weeks after dispatch) this is because the post office will not allow us to raise a claim in that time.
We so appreciate your patience & understanding in these still weird times!
Do you ship internationally?
We regularly ship to the US and Canada, and we used to post all over Europe, but following the mess of Brexit and HUGE customs delays being experienced by customers we have decided to put all European dispatches on hold until we have confidence deliveries will be made in a reliable & timely manner again - sorry!
Can you order me a book if you don’t have it?
Absolutely! Apart from the odd exception, we can order any book that’s in print in the UK (and some that aren’t) and get it within 1-10 days (depending on title availability).
We have a selection of our books on the website but if you can't find it when you search for it do pop in/email or call for any requests, or you can order through our Bookshop.org page (and we will receive 30% of the sale, so long as we are the listed bookshop at checkout, so it's still a great way to support us)
I’ve written a book, would you be interested in stocking it?
PLEASE NOTE: We are taking very limited numbers of self-published titles at this time.
Our team is already stretched to the limits adapting to the 'post' Covid-19 landscape and sadly this is something we have limited capacity for at this time.
We urge all authors to read the Booksellers Association’s guide to getting your books stocked in high street shops, available HERE. We simply do not have the time to walk every author through what we need to consider a book so if you email us incomplete information we will just send you right back to the BA guide!
Because of our limited shelf space, we have to be extremely selective when choosing which books to stock. If your book fits with Lighthouse’s particular stock profile (e.g. feminist, LBGT+, political and/or poetry) then we invite you to email us outlining the specifics of the title and the terms of supply and distribution (all detailed in the BA link above). Please do not send us Amazon links, as we have an active boycott of Amazon for their disgraceful business and employment practices. We will endeavour to reply to you swiftly once we have all the information needed, but sadly we’re not always able to do this.
My book is published by Amazon, would you be interested in stocking it?
No thank you. As a business committed to paying fair wages and supporting social justice we have an active boycott of amazon and all their products so we would not be in a position to stock your book, sorry! Amazon business practices pose an existential threat to the high street, and to bookshops in particular
Can I stock my zine/pamphlet with you?
We LOVE zines, though to be honest we never have enough space for zines. If you would like us to consider your zine please shoot us an email detailing what the zine is about, how much it sells to the public for & how much it would cost the bookshop (we usually take 30% of the retail price). If you have images of the insides of the zines you can add as an attachment that is particularly helpful.
The zines we do best with retail between £3 and £6, are A5 or smaller, and are feminist/queer/antiracist/personal/anticapitalist/green or some combination of those.
If we think we have an audience for your zine we usually take 3 copies sale or return and try them on the shelf for 1-3 months depending on our agreement. If they do not sell in that time you can collect them and find them a better home. If they do then we let you know, get you paid and order more!
I’m looking for a job, are you hiring just now?
No! We are all all teamed up just now and have no plans for new hires in 2023.
We are a living wage employer and we don't do zero hour contracts. Our booksellers are usually with us for years so we don’t recruit very often.
We receive so many unsolicited but brilliant CVs & cover letters that when a spot does open up we usually go back through those applications first and, so far, have always found great booksellers that way.
Do feel free to send us your CV by email (we don’t accept paper CVs as these get lost over time) and tell us why you’d like to work for Lighthouse, what hours you are looking for/general availability and what you like to read.
We are particularly interested in hearing from candidates who are habitually underrepresented in the book trade, notably book lovers who are working class and care experienced, neurodivergent, Black, Asian or from an Ethnic Minority in the UK, Roma/Traveler and queer.
Unfortunately we can’t respond to all such emails, but we will keep them on file.
Do you offer seasonal work?
We’re afraid not - it takes a wee while to get into the swing of things as a bookseller so we prefer all our booksellers to be with us for a few years at a time,
Do you offer work placements or internships?
Rarely, but we are open to suggestions! We do sometimes take school kids for a week in November as part of placement programs, so feel free to get in touch about those.
We are particularly interested in hearing from candidates who are habitually underrepresented in the book trade, notably book lovers who are working class and care experienced, neurodivergent, Black, Asian or from an Ethnic Minority in the UK, and Roma/Traveler. If that's you, and getting a taste of bookshop life & the trade would be helpful to getting you going in your career we may be able to run a tailored mini-placement, so do get in touch if that's you!
Do you do events?
Yes! We are host regular virtual launches you can watch live online or catch up on recordings through the event pages!
For Online Events
Online events are streamed directly to their own event page!
You'll need to be signed in to take part in the chat, which means it is best to watch on a computer.
If you do not see the video appear in the minute or two after start time, do try refreshing your screen, and if that fails you can also watch on our youtube channel HERE.
For In Person Events
Covid Safety - these details and more will also be sent to attendees ahead of the event.
If you are attending an in-person event, which we are slowly bringing back, we'd like you to take a negative lateral flow test on the day of the event, and you will be required to keep your mask on throughout the event, unless we are in the bookshop garden. (yes, this still applies in 2023)
Seating will be arranged to allow for some social distancing and windows will be kept open throughout. If you have not been vaccinated or are more vulnerable, we do recommend watching online, where you can post your questions to the authors through the chat!
The bookshop is wheelchair accessible - but the garden is sadly not - events are seated and speakers use microphones throughout their events. We have further details about accessibility further down this page or feel free to get in touch, we’re happy to help however we can!
The Bookshop operates a Safe Space Policy which all guests and speakers are asked to respect - you can read it here.
We cannot guarantee a seat if you arrive after the event start-time. (If you know you’re running late, call the shop to give us a heads-up!)
Can you tell me more about your book clubs?
Certainly! We host five regular book clubs, themed respectively around Women in STEM, LGBT+ writing, Women in Translation, and Science Fiction. If you would like more info about upcoming meetings and the books for discussion, please visit our Event page or ask a bookseller in store. We also offer a 10% discount on titles in the bookshop if they are being bought for book club.
I'd like to do an event with you, are you interested?
If you want us to host an event based around a particular book or theme that fits the shop’s ethos, feel free to send us an email outlining the specifics. (Author, Book, Possible dates)
Please also be aware that our events schedule usually fills up a couple of months in advance, so bear this in mind when contacting us. Our events are usually 1 hour long, from 7-8 pm Tuesday-Friday, though some events suit a Saturday coffee-morning type format.
We cannot host additional events during August or from mid-December to mid-January.
We have a portable wheelchair ramp which we are always more than happy to put out (just tap the front window, and we’ll spring into action); we also lay it down the front step an hour before all events.
Our ramp has a 300kg carrying capacity and a usable width 77.5cm, it has a 1:6 ratio, which may not be suitable for all electric wheelchairs (sorry – the pavement is pretty narrow!).
The shop itself is laid out so that a reader in wheelchairs that fit the ramp can do a full circuit of the shop. There is at least 90cm+ of navigable space through most of the shop, although the arches into the fiction room only have a width of 77cm.
Guidance for individuals with visual impairment
Our booksellers are all very happy to give guidance around the shop, read out blurbs and compile as well as walk through recommendations for anyone with a visual impairment.
We do not carry stock of large print books or audio books/CDs but we are always very happy to order these in.
We endeavour to use ALT text in all social media post images.
We don’t play background music throughout the shop, although we sometimes play songs from the till computer, if you prefer silence we are always happy to switch the tunes off.
None of our staff are proficient with BSL (yet!), we try as a rule to speak clearly and face customers when we are talking to help with lip reading if necessary, and we do keep a whiteboard/whiteboard markers by the till so we can chat in writing – please just let us know what method of communication you prefer and we’ll do our best.
We are planning to have a few events per season with a BSL interpreter. These will be flagged up here and on the event page.
All video events will be captioned within 48hours of the recording.
We have a window seat in fiction, and a few comfy seats scattered through the shop for anyone who needs a rest.
Unfortunately due to coronavirus our toilet is no longer available to customers - we will reconsider this when it is safe to do so, though it is worth noting that it is in the basement of the shop and can only be accessed down a spiral staircase.
We always have seating at events, late comers may need to stand if an event is oversubscribed. If you need to sit, please arrive early, and if you have a preference on where you are seated simply call or email the shop in advance and we’ll do our best to accommodate you.
Our seats have back support but no armrests. We do have an office chair with a head rest and arm rests as well as adjustable height that we are happy to put out, just get in touch in advance and we’ll sort that out.
All speakers use microphones at events with more than 15 guests. We use the fiction room as a break-out space during events, it’s quiet, with a window for fresh air and a few seats.
Events usually last 1hour, to 1hour and 15 depending on questions running over. Event tickets & cost
We always offer 15 FREE tickets to shop events and 50% of seats at outside events are also free on a first come first served basis. For the rest we charge a modest entry fee of £4, which can double to be used as book voucher against the book being discussed at the event.
Why do we charge? The ticket price helps us cover the cost of staffing, prep and paying our hosts a fair fee, but we do not want this to be a barrier to those who can’t pay - if there is space we will fit you in, for free, if you need it.
Why not make all tickets free then? We did in the past, but many, if not most, who booked free places dropped out at the last minute. This made it very hard for us to plan set up and staffing and sometimes meant events ‘Sold Out’ but then only half the room was full and people had been turned away. This seemed a happy compromise.
Lighthouse aims to create a respectful, understanding and kind space where all people feel able to discover books and authors, express themselves and ask questions without fear of reprisal or humiliation.
As a bookshop we want to be a safe, empowering, welcoming space of discovery for all readers, especially those of us traditionally on the margins. We believe open debate on many things is vital, however having the right format for dialogue on challenging, deeply personal topics is crucial for such discussion.
So we do curate our events. Although we do not know or necessarily agree with all the opinions of all our speakers – by offering our bookshop as a platform we are at the very least showing a degree of trust and respect, inevitably giving speakers a certain credibility. We do not take that responsibility lightly and will never knowingly give an unchallenged platform to individuals whose ideas we view as toxic or reactionary.
This document is a guideline, it draws on the policies of others, including Sisters Uncut and the Edinburgh Autonomous Centre, and it should change as we learn and grow.
It should tell you what you can expect from Lighthouse and what you commit to as part of our community. We have high expectations of how we behave towards each other in the shop and at our events - in person and online.
Please know, we will not wait for issues of harm to happen but will proactively challenge oppression & hierarchy in everything we do. Our bookshop and our events should be inclusive and supportive spaces for all, and in particular women (trans, intersex and cis) and all nonbinary, agender and gender variant people. Self-definition is at the sole discretion of that individual.
The Booksellers and volunteers at the Lighthouse form a diverse group. Like our readers some of us experience different kinds of oppression & violence at the same time, including racism, ableism, poverty, misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, islamophobia and antisemitism, as well as others. These oppressions are not separate from each other which can be exhausting & painful. We want to create a community that recognises and challenges the oppression & exploitation that some of us are harmed by and some of us benefit from.
We define the following as abusive behaviours which are not tolerated in the Bookshop or at events:
We ask the following of all readers, speakers and performers in the Lighthouse:
The Bread and Roses Award is a book prize with a difference: presented by the Alliance of Radical Booksellers, and without the backing of corporate sponsors, the award seeks to recognise and celebrate excellence in the field of radical political non-fiction.
Nominations are invited from national and international publishers – see our frequently asked questions page for further information. An award of £500 will be made each year to the winning writer. A presentation ceremony is held at the ARB London Radical Bookfair.
Lighthouse, as a member of teh ARB, is proud to be taking over the administration of the award from our comrades at Housmans.
For full details of submissions, check out the awar page HERE, basic details below:
How do I enter a book?
Books must be submitted by agents or publishers, nominations from individuals will not be considered.
Please send FOUR COPIES of each nominated book to:
Mairi / Bread & Roses Lighthouse 43-45 West Nicolson Street Edinburgh EH8 9DB
Further copies may be requested of books which make the shortlist.
There is no entry fee for nominated titles but publishers will be asked for a £50 per shortlisted title as a contribution to marketing costs.
The covering letter should state that the books are nominated for the Bread and Roses Award, and should give relevant contact details for the agent/publisher and the address and email address of the writer.
The deadline for 2023 prize submissions (of books published in 2022) is Jan 31st 2023 - please read the full criteria HERE.
Each of our subscriptions is available on a rolling basis (pay monthly) or in a prepaid block (you can decide to gift however many months you like).
We've kicked off with 3 offerings: BEACON (Current affairs), SMOL (Indie fiction) and HOPE IS THE THING (poetry) - and more will follow across Queer writing, sci-fi and environmental writing!
Each type of subscription is a little different, but broadly speaking, your monthly subscription will include a carefully selected book, a custom bookmark, an explanation of why this particular book was chosen, a ‘further reading’ list, and an online offering to be disclosed each month. As a wee extra to start your reading journey with us, your first month’s pack will include a Lighthouse Tote, designed by Edinburgh-based designer Topsy Corian & tattoo artist Nik Costas.
1) you choose a type of subscription
2) you give us the email address to send the subscription & activation details to
3) you/the recipient will 'activate' the account using the link emailed, and input a delivery address. At this point the subscription is 'live'.
4) on the 20th of each month we start prepping parcels for all who have subscribed
5) on the last wednesday of the month we will post your bundle & email you your virtual offering (using the details in the subscriber page)
6) you/the recipient is *thrilled* by their delivery a few days later! You read the book & explore the online delights (take part in a bookclub, watch a Q&A with the author or tune in for an event, that sort of thing).
Subscriptions go out on the last wednesday of the month via 2nd Class Royal Mail across the UK, or by Farr Out bike delivery in Edinburgh.
The cut-off date for orders is the 20th of the month.
This means if you order on the 1st of May you will receive your first bundle in May, and if you order on the 25th of May you will receive your first box in June.
Subscriptions are sent in eco-friendly wraps with as little extraneous packaging as possible.
Delivery costs are included in the price of your subscription.
You'll receive an email with details of your virtual treats on the day your bundle is dispatched. Additionally we include a wee QR code in the parcel so you can scan that to get access too!
You can cancel or pause your rolling subs from your user page any time.
Prepaid subscriptions cannot be cancelled or refunded, but they can be paused or your delivery address changed from your user page.