Communicate with us
- 0131 662 9112
Find us on the high streetLighthouse - Edinburgh's Radical Bookshop
43-45 West Nicolson Street
Edinburgb, Scotland, EH8 9DB
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We are OPEN to browsers again, and continuing to offer delivery or collection.
Monday to Saturday 11.00am -7pm
Sunday 11.30am- 5pm
Face masks required, limited to 5 browsers/3households at any one time.
If you are shielding, we can arrange private browsing between 10.30 & 11.00 Monday - Friday by appointment, just shoot us a wee email and we can set a date.
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?
Yes you may, and/or we are happy to continue to deliver (we use bike deliveries by Farr Out further afield in Edinburgh, Royal Mail beyond!).
We WILL notify you when your books are ready to collect so that we can have your book(s) ready for pick up.
Please follow instructions on the door and respect social distancing if others are collecting too.
How long does it take for online orders to arrive?
Books ordered through the website are generally dropped at the post office within 2 working days of us receiving the order. We send our parcels second class (unless otherwise requested), so they should take 2-3 days to reach you from point of posting. Please bear in mind that due to COVID-19 the Post Office is facing huge extra pressure as well as staff shortages and logistical challenges in keeping their staff safe. Royal Mail has stated that they are attempting to meet that 2-3day delivery window, though in our experience 4-5 days is more common, and many books take about 5-9 working days from order to delivery. 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. We so appreciate your patience & understanding as we all adjust to strange times.
Do you ship internationally?
We regularly shup 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!
I’ve written a book, would you be interested in stocking it?
PLEASE NOTE: We are NOT taking in any new self-published titles until winter 2021 at the earliest. Our team is already stretched to the limits adapting to the new Covid-19 landscape and sadly this is something we have to put on hold for now. We’ll update this when we’re able to again.
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 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. 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?
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. It is unlikely we will be hiring in 2021.
We receive 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) 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?
Usually yes, but these are are on hiatus through 2021.
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 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, you will be asked to provide proof of a negative lateral flow test on the day of the event, and required to keep your mask on throughout the event, unless we are in the bookshop garden.
Seating will be arranged to allow for 1m distance 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 7.30-8.30pm 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.
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.
For when in person events resume:
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 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 & costWe 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 £3, 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 & refreshments, 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: