Jack’s Edinburgh bookshop venture looks great on paper

High street trader Jack Clark is one of a growing number of independent booksellers determined to promote the charm of traditional books.

Wednesday, 25th September 2019, 5:07 pm
Jack Clark, owner of The Portobello Bookshop, is preparing for national Bookshop Day, along with staff members Sarah Barnard and Alice Fischer

Following his recent launch of The Portobello Bookshop, he is already planning a number of events to celebrate national Bookshop Day on October 5.

Part of the Books Are My Bag campaign, the initiative is being run by the Booksellers’ Association in partnership with National Poetry Day to offer readings, workshops and other events to literary enthusiasts across the country.

For the first time in two decades the number of UK bookshops is on the rise, increasing by 15 in 2019, including Jack’s new venture on Portobello’s main thoroughfare.

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“We opened in July after spending six months renovating a former Co-op and fishing tackle shop, transforming it into what we hope will be a much loved bookshop for years to come,” says Jack.

A former freelance photographer, who worked in London and Berlin for high-profile publications like Elle, he also worked at the Shelter bookshop in Stockbridge before setting up his own business.

“We started in the belief that bookshops and libraries can provide a vital focal point for people to meet, share ideas and discover new knowledge,” he adds. “We’ve been so happy with the reaction to our shop, and will never tire of seeing people bump into each other on the shop floor, chat about recent books they’ve read and recommend new ones to each other.” A general bookshop stocking a diverse range of titles, the airy, modern store has a strong focus on literary fiction and children’s titles.

To mark Bookshop Day and Super Thursday – the biggest day of the year for new book releases – Jack will be hosting Edinburgh poet Michael Pedersen on October 3 to talk about his recent work, including the Oyster collection.

The talk also kicks off the 11th Portobello Book Festival, with free events taking place on October 5 and 6. Visit