The owner of Edinburgh's Rare Birds Books on her day at the Stockbridge shop

The Rare Birds Book Shop, which champions female authors, is celebrating its first birthday. Here owner Rachel Wood speaks about a typical day working around the Edinburgh store.
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I tend to get up when my husband does and we’ll hang out and have breakfast together before we head out for work. When it’s time to leave, I put my shoes on, then end up standing in the entryway, finishing the last few chapters of the book I was reading the night before.


Rachel WoodRachel Wood
Rachel Wood

The store opens now and we catch up as a team, then divide and conquer the most urgent tasks for that day. One of the strangest things about my job is that we’re always working really far into the future. Before noon I’ve already said the word Christmas out loud at least a dozen times, which feels like a jinx towards the relatively nice weather we’ve been enjoying the past few weeks. The rest of the morning passes in a flurry of book recommendations, visits from regulars (and adorable local dogs) and rounds of tea.


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This afternoon has been focused on selecting the titles that will go into our book subscription next year. We keep a running list of all the proofs we’ve read and loved because there’s always a curveball in there somewhere – the publication date will move, or there might be a print delay that means we need to swap one book out for another. The knock-on effect of this way of working is that I never know what month it is anymore and I regularly get the year wrong too.


I’ve missed lunch and I’m starving, so I scavenge in the back kitchen for something to eat. Today it’s Nutella, enjoyed directly from the jar with a spoon.


It’s time to turn my attention away from the online side of the business and work on some actions for the store, namely, making a batch of Book Smells candles. I pour every single one by hand, which has evolved into a much bigger undertaking than I first imagined when I blithely told the team we’d just make ‘a few candles’ to sell in store and that it would be ‘fun and easy’. The fun part was true, at least. I put my headphones in and crack on. Today I’m listening to ABBA’s greatest hits and making Writer’s Block, which smells like coffee as a wink to all the writers who toil away on their manuscripts for months (or years) on end.


Halfway between the shop and my flat is The Artisan Pasta Maker on Dundas Street, which is all the excuse I need to leave dinner in the hands of the professionals. When I've got home, I capitalise on all the time I’ve saved by not cooking and start a new book – it’s short enough that if I stay up extremely late (which I do), I can read it all in one sitting.


Once I’m finished my book, I relay the entire plot to my husband, who politely feigns interest, then begs me to go to sleep.

Rare Birds Books, 13a Raeburn Place, Edinburgh,