WORD Power Books, the well-known radical bookshop, is preparing to welcome a new owner.

Elaine Henry set up what became an Edinburgh institution in 1994, when it was officially opened by Booker Prize-winning author James Kelman.

Since then it has become a favourite for publications offering alternative views on gender, the environment and current affairs. Author Alan Bisset has described it as a “a hub for independent thought itself”.

Loading article content

Negotiations are still under way with the prospective new owners, but Henry told The National it was time to move on.

“It’ll be the end of an era for me,” she said, “but not for Word Power. It’s 22 and a quarter years – like Adrian Mole for adults. I don’t mean that to sound like I’ve been counting every day, but I feel I’ve put in a long good stint providing an independent and radical bookshop for Edinburgh and Scotland.

"A lot has happened in that time and I’m feeling the need to move on to pastures new and pass the shop on to someone else to take on the mantle.”

She has been inundated with messages from customers and authors, many of whom will be at her farewell drinks event this weekend.

“We’ve had great support from a huge array of writers – too many to single out – but also from customers who’ve stayed loyal and who’ve seen the need for an independent bookshop and haven’t resorted to clicking online with big corporations.

"There’s been great awareness of what Amazon is doing, with its non-payment of taxes … and obviously since the build-up to the independence referendum there was a massive increase in people coming to the shop.”

The 54-year-old is going on to pastures new – literally.

“I’m moving to France," she said. "I’m going to enjoy being out in the fresh air a lot more, in the sunshine, growing vegetables and reconnecting with the earth and not spending all my days inside in front of a computer.

“I won’t sit with my feet up all the time – there will be new challenges in that neck of the woods too, I think.”