The Nairn Bookshop


Jussi Adler-Olsen
Format: Paperback Pages: 592 pages Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd Publication Date: 27/02/2014 Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945) ISBN: 9781405909785
by SRB

Scotland’s Bookshops – The Nairn Bookshop

March 2, 2017 | by SRB

The Nairn Bookshop is located in the small sea-side town of Nairn on the Moray Firth. It was established in 1988.

At the beginning of November 2015 we moved across the road to larger premises which has proved to be very successful. The larger floor area has allowed us to offer an increased selection of cards, gift wrap, postcards, notebooks, tea towels and jigsaws including three bespoke Nairn images.

Our bookshelves are well stocked with a wide range of new books which cater for all ages and types of readers. Our stock includes an excellent selection of local books.

The original and previous owners of the bookshop organised the first ever Nairn Book Festival in 2004. It has grown over the years to become The Nairn Book and Arts Festival and is organised and run by local volunteers.


Where I fit in

I am Mavis Macdonald and I bought The Nairn Bookshop in July 2009. Unlike many booksellers I had no previous knowledge of the book trade. I was running my accountancy practice in Elgin when my clients advised me that they were selling the bookshop. It was a spur of the moment decision to buy but I have had no regrets. Although I had sound knowledge of running a small business, I realised immediately I was on a very steep learning curve as reality dawned that my knowledge of retailing and the book trade was very limited.

What makes The Nairn Bookshop stand out?

No two Independents are the same. The location, size, shape and layout, staff and owner define the bookshop. Not forgetting Orla, the bookshop’s cocker spaniel.

Physically we command a corner position boasting five windows. Internally we have beautiful chandeliers and the flexibility to allow us to clear about 50% of the floor area to set up around 30 chairs for events.

In collaboration with a local poet we established ‘Bards at the Bookshop’. Since moving to the new shop we have had several requests from published poets to read at our shop.

Visitors to our website will find up to date information on us including a good selection of first editions, signed copies and collectibles for sale. You will also find us on Facebook and twitter.


We have a number of local authors who have penned local history, poetry and fiction, many of whom we have hosted book launches for. Our largest audience was for an Ian Rankin event we hosted. We were delighted that Ian agreed to do this event for us. For an event this size it was necessary to book the function suite at a local hotel. In January Ian called into the shop to sign some stock for us. He is a lovely unassuming gentleman. The smaller audiences we have had at author and ‘Bards at The Bookshop’ readings promote a more intimate atmosphere.

Who wanders through the door most often? /Which customer has taken me by surprise?

Apart from the TNT delivery man and the lady who walks Orla? Mr W visits the shop on a very regular basis. He either wishes to purchase a book he saw in the window when passing early on a Sunday morning or to order maps, guide books or DVDs on Railways and canals. We always have an interesting and informative conversation about his travels.

Andy Allan, poet who has read in the shop, attends the other readings and purchases books, took my breath away when he gave me a framed picture of myself along with a poem he had written about the official opening of our new shop.

The most ridiculous request we have ever had

There have been a number over the years but the ones that stand out for me are “Are you cutting the hair downstairs now?”, “Where’s the nearest betting shop?” and the customer who requested a hardback with a minimum of 1,000 pages. Cost and title were of no importance. It transpired he was having it sculpted into the name of a grandchild. He was in again in January looking for one with a minimum of 472 pages. After checking all our shelves for potential books I found and sold him a book about opera.

Where did my love of the printed word begin?

Although I read some books when I was a child, the prescribed reading at secondary school and the odd book of my father’s, I cannot say that I really had a love of reading. It was years later when my husband & I were caravanning near Dornoch that I caught the bug. He had not long started reading himself and I felt ‘left out’. I saw ‘The Land Girls’ in the window of the Dornoch Bookshop went in, bought it, and that was me hooked.

Which book has influenced me most?                                                                  

‘The Last Escape’ by John Nichol & Tony Rennell. This is about the untold story of hundreds of thousands of Allied POW in Germany 1944-45 forced to march hundreds of miles in appalling conditions. Every time I get a stone in my shoe I start to whinge then I remember about the suffering of these men and feel ashamed.

What am I reading now and why?

‘Guilt’ by Jussi Adler-Olsen. This is the fourth in the Carl Morck Department Q series. Just before Christmas a young Danish customer came in looking for a recommendation of Scottish crime novel – which was easy of course. She asked if I had heard of Jussi Adler which I confessed I had not. On her recommendation I ordered the first and last in the series for the shop but thought I would try the author myself. I am hooked and cannot put the books down. If you haven’t read him and you like psychological/detective books, try them.

If not this, then what?

Retirement, reading, gardening, reading, feet up, reading, dog walking, reading, reading………..



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