Would you like to kit out your child with an engrossing, varied library? Would you prefer to do so without breaking the bank?

Few people seem to realise that they can source immaculate copies of children’s books – both new and old – in secondhand shops. You just need to know where to look. 

There’s a strange sort of stigma surrounding secondhand children’s books in our (supposedly) environmentally-conscious age. Many imagine them to be grubby, torn and unhygienic, so totally unsuitable for children. But that’s not the case. Or at least, it doesn’t have to be. The best secondhand bookshops in Edinburgh are extremely picky about their stock. And even in a less pernickety shop, you will find copies that have barely been touched, let alone read. So why not do your bit for the planet, your pocket, and, of course, your child, by investigating the following:

Amnesty Bookshop, 12 Roseneath St, Marchmont, Edinburgh EH9 1JH

Open 12pm-6pm daily (including Sundays)

Clean, friendly, spacious, airy. This volunteer-run gem is situated in a peaceful quarter just off the Meadows. I emerged rather cock-a-hoop having purchased the following: a pristine pop-up version of the children’s classic ‘Guess how much I love you?’ (£1), a brand-new appearing, Costa award-winning chapter book (£2), a beautifully illustrated, interactive children’s flat book about habitats (50p) and ‘50 Things to Make and Do’ by Usborne (not strictly a book!) for a mere £2.50. As I browsed, a small child sat engrossed on a stool. She didn’t want to go, and neither did I. But when I eventually did, I discovered a cracking new café (Todd’s) just around the corner.

St Columba’s Bookshop, 14-15 Brandon Terrace, Canonmills, Edinburgh EH3 5EA

Open 10am-4pm daily (excluding Sundays)

The range and variety of pristine children’s books here is second to none. As an ex-primary school teacher, I can honestly say that this shop has everything. There’s a good-sized tray of clean, illustrated ‘flats’ (for 0-5s, which I often give as presents), a section for early and struggling readers (Usborne, Barrington Stoke etc.) and plenty of quality chapter books, both new and old. Also check out the non-fiction and the classics. The manager Andy is a fussy sorter and it shows! The books here are always very reasonably priced and the turnover rapid – you’ll find new stock every week. A brand-new looking picture or chapter book (usually £6.99) will set you back about £2.