WORD POWER BOOKS is a leading quality independent bookshop opened formally by Booker Prize-Winner James Kelman on 1 December 1994.
Our world-wide online service is an alternative to corporate bookshops that refuse to allow their workers to join trade unions. Unlike Amazon, recipient of 1.6 million taxpayers' money from the Scottish Executive (The Bookseller, 28 May 2004), we receive no state funding.
While our site offers you access to all books in print in the UK we remain committed to promoting literature outwith the mainstream thereby making it more accessible and helping to support small presses and new writers. We also provide Platform, a regular column for groups, campaigns or individuals to post articles and foster debate, and a Noticeboard where you can post information and details of events.
Below you can read comments from writers who support Word Power Books. Many have read at our literary evenings or have participated in the Edinburgh Independent Radical Book Fair. We do not do this to sound our own trumpet but to demonstrate the support and desire which permeates the literary community for a bookshop and online resource such as Word Power Books not just to exist but to thrive. Why?
The world of books is a precious resource: books are not commodities to be marketed on the shelves alongside baked beans. The range of books we offer gives you fast track entrance to a world of publishing outwith the mainstream, a world where independent publishers, small presses, new writers with no prior sales history, individuals producing their own zines all have an equal voice and sit happily alongside Stupid White Men or No Logo on the shelves.
The books we offer you could change your view of the world and make a life-long impact on you. Here's what writers had to say:
Word Power Books is not an only one of the last remaining independent bookshops in Scotland, but a hub for independent thought itself. It is a hive-mind of the anti-mainstream and the leftfield, run by people who are committed and passionate about real books and aren't just there to flog product. Word Power Books makes Edinburgh a much better place. Alan Bissett
Independent bookshops like Word Power are more than fabulous quirks in a landscape of homogenised culture and bland multi nationals, they are part of the life blood of radical public debate. Quite simply if they did not exist the outlets for disseminating radical and unconventional thought would diminish, independent bookshops are vital. Mark Thomas
Word Power Books is an inspiring and creative haven, it invites us to rediscover the world as a more challenging, changing and imaginative place. Kirsty Gunn
Word Power Books is the kind of independent(-minded) bookshop I've always treasured on the Continent - committed to readers and writers alike. Long live independence! Regi Clare
When you find Word*Power, it's like sighting a fox or a sparrowhawk in the city. You think, yesss! Kathleen Jamie
Walking into Word Power is like walking into a warm embrace of words: all ideas, dreams, discussions, life - floor to ceiling - waiting just for you. A wonderfully revolutionary place in the heart of Edinburgh - in every sense. Meaghan Delahunt
Word Power, the giant-defier. Independent bookshops, where the attention to books, customers and sales is unique, are lifeblood places for the small presses and the original writing that the larger corporations don't know what to do with. Ali Smith
When I meet people from Scotland I ask them if they know Word*Power. I ask them as if it were an old friend of mine, someone who I love, someone who inspires me…Maximum respect to Word Power. It's a bookshop that I do not think of as a business. I think of it as a caring, radical, progressive and passionate public service. Benjamin Zephaniah
Word Power makes the foreign writer/visitor to Edinburgh feel instantly welcome...surely one of the world's more browsable places.Susan George
Long live Word Power! One of Scotland's best (and most colourful) battle-stations in the perpetual struggle against standardisation, globalisation, dumbing-down and all things bad and boring. Ellen Galford
Word Power is one of the best-kept secrets in Edinburgh: a bookshop for the kind of reader who hankers after bookshops without sofas or in-your-face blockbuster discounts, who fantasises about finding a life-changing book serendipitously, by dint of someone else having pared things down to a thinking choice. Can there be higher recommendation? Janice Galloway
The going bust of a great independent shop like Compendium in London shows how valuable, priceless, the remaining independents are. More power to Word Power! TOM LEONARD
Independent magazines and small presses are the life-blood of writing. Book chains try to stem their flow. The passion and dedication behind Word Power keeps it flowing. LAURA HIRD
Independent, radically-minded bookshops are as important as independent radically-minded writers - and even harder to find. So more power to Word Power: one of the few, and one of the best of the few. DUNCAN MACLEAN
In an age of increasingly timid and poorly-supplied chain bookshops, everyone should be glad that Word Power exists. A.L. Kennedy
Word Power is a unique platform where poetry and politics can co-exist. LINTON KWESI JOHNSON
Word Power is not just the best radical bookshop in Scotland. It's one of the best bookshops of any kind. It combines an amazing range with a terrific focus: in every category it covers, you'll find its best, most current, and most relevant books there. And if you can't, Word Power's fast, friendly, no-fuss ordering service will do it for you. Support them in every way you can. KEN MACLEOD
Word-Power is more than a book shop, it's a way of life. DILYS ROSE
...in edinburgh doing a one-man show version of my book "Chicken" at the Assmbly rooms, I stumbled into a book lover's heaven: Word Power. I sighed as I entered, thinking: this is what a book store should be - personal, intimate, crammed head to foot with books, books, books. It was an absolute joy, browsing, poking my nose into every corner of this wonderful emporium of the enlightened mind and soul, being filled with the joy and power of the word. I reccommend you do the same. DAVID HENRY STERRY
Word Power is a wonderful bookstore. Its collection provides the community (in Edinburgh and via the Web) with important resources for critical learning, independent thinking, and - ultimately - democracy itself. I look forward to returning. JOSEPH GERSON
Back in the 1970s almost every large city in Britain had an independent radical bookshop where socialists could go to pick up the classics, new works or left-wing sectariana. Most of these closed during the 1980s under competitive pressure from the book chains and the general climate of reaction. Now that we are seeing a welcome revival of the Left, Edinburgh is particularly lucky to already have a shop like Word Power where socialists can go to find the ideas we need for the struggle. Word Power is to be congratulated on the wide-ranging nature of its stock, the ecumenical approach it takes to left publications and for initiatives such as the annual Radical Bookfair. NEIL DAVIDSON
Word Power is just that! I am so happy to find a store in Scotland where there is such a wealth of information about different topics. This is complimented by the involvement in the community to promote and provide music, cultural events and book signings. It's an honor to meet people in a place that lives up to it's name - truly a great place with wonderful, caring people! Aisha
Word Power Books