How to book

COVID NOTICE: Please check the website regularly, and especially just before you leave to visit the Book Festival in-person – details may change at short notice as we adapt to regulations.

We're working with the Scottish Government, City of Edinburgh Council and other authorities to implement appropriate measures to ensure the safety of everyone visiting or working at the Book Festival. These include regular cleaning and contactless ticketing. Audience numbers are limited in venues to maintain social distancing and we may be required to cap the number of people on our Festival site. Face masks will be required to be worn in all indoor spaces. Our plans will be adjusted in response to public health measures as they evolve.

If you're unable to attend any event at the 2021 Edinburgh International Book Festival for any reason related to COVID-19, we will refund the full cost of the ticket to the person who made the booking.

For 21 days after your visit, we may be asked to share your name and contact details with NHS Test & Protect to help them identify people who may have been exposed to COVID-19.


Box Office services

To minimise physical contact, we will not be operating a booking phoneline or a Box Office counter in 2021. This means the following services will not be available: in-person ticket collection, ticket exchanges and returns for resale. Please make your bookings on our website - tickets will be issued as etickets and emailed to you to facilitate contactless interactions with staff. If you need to get in touch with the Box Office please email


Booking to watch online: Pay What You Can

All bookings should be made on our website in the usual way – you will be asked to login to your Book Festival account or create an account to make the booking. For watching events online, we ask that you Pay What You Can (PWYC). We will suggest a price to you during the checkout process – this is based on a standard Book Festival ticket. We hope the Pay What You Can pricing structure for all our streamed events gives many more people the opportunity to enjoy the Book Festival. PWYC is designed to help audiences who are struggling financially, whilst also providing sufficient income for the Book Festival to continue to produce a wonderful, international programme of events for everyone to enjoy. If you can afford a standard Book Festival ticket, we ask that you choose to pay the amount suggested; it will mean we can continue to offer the benefit to those who need it most.

While watching live events online, you’ll have the opportunity to post comments and chat to other audience members in the live chatbox or post questions to the authors in the live Q&A. See our FAQS for watching events online

Our thanks to players of People's Postcode Lottery for their support of our 2021 Pay What You Can ticketing.


Watching events on-demand

The majority of events are available to watch on-demand after the livestream has finished for a period of time (without the opportunity to join the live Chat or Q&A). Check each event page to see how long events are available.


Booking to watch in-person in the venue

Booking opens online at 12 noon on Thursday 22 July. Due to the limited number of in-person tickets available, we'll be restricting the number of tickets each person can buy for the first 5 days: 2 per event (5 for children’s events) per booker for a maximum of 5 events. On the first day of booking we will be operating a booking queue on the website to help us manage demand. You can see how the queue works by watching our short video.

All bookings should be made on our website in the usual way. Tickets will be issued as etickets to facilitate contactless interactions with our staff. Anyone who has booked a ticket to watch an event in-person, will be able to watch the event online for free, should they find they are unable to attend.

Not all our authors and event participants will be physically present on stage, some will take part in events remotely and you will be viewing them on a screen in the theatre. Please check each event page for details.


Theatre venues

Please see our venue information page for details.


Captioned events

Look out for the events marked CAPTIONED. We have provided live-captioning for a range of scheduled events in the programme. Find these using our online events listings.


BSL interpretation

Look out for the events marked BSL. We have provided a British Sign Language interpreter for selected scheduled events. Find these using our online events listings.


Learning disability friendly events

Look out for the events marked LD. These are events that have been created for people with severe or multiple learning disabilities.


Payment, fees and refund policy

We accept Visa / Delta / Maestro / Mastercard. We do not charge any booking fees. To minimise physical contact, we will not be operating a Box Office counter and ticket exchanges and returns for resale will not be available this year. All bookings should be made on our website and tickets issued will be etickets to facilitate contactless interactions with our staff.

If you’ve booked a ticket to watch an event in-person you’ll be able to watch the event online for free if you find you can’t attend. If you're unable to attend for a reason related to COVID-19, we will refund the cost of the ticket to the person who made the booking.

If you’ve chosen to Pay What You Can to watch a live-streamed event, your payment will be treated as a donation to the Book Festival Charity and you will be asked if you’d like to Gift Aid it (UK taxpayers only).


Ticket Prices 

Ticket prices vary according to the event. Most adult events are priced from £8–£16 and children's events from £3–£8. Please see the event listings for details. Booking your spot to watch online is offered on a Pay What You Can Basis (see above).


Concession ticket prices

Available to recipients of universal credit or jobseekers allowance, full-time students, over 60s, under 16s, Young Scot cardholders, disabled visitors (carer goes free – see details below) and North Edinburgh Neighbourhood scheme cardholders.


Personal assistant/carer tickets

If your disability requires that you need a PA/carer to attend our events in-person, your PA/carer is entitled to a free ticket, which should be booked at the same time as your own. Buy all the tickets you need and we will refund your PA/carer ticket (free tickets cannot be booked online). Please email with your name and order number (which you can find on your booking confirmation email) and tell us which tickets in your booking are for a carer and we will issue the refund.


Accompanying children to children’s events

Please accompany children under ten to events. Everyone who attends an event (whether a child or an adult) will require a ticket to be admitted into the venue.


Bringing babies to adult events

If you cannot make alternative arrangements, you may bring your baby to adult events. Please request a free baby ticket a few days before your event by emailing Out of consideration to others, we ask that you leave the venue if your baby is noisy - our staff can help you to exit.



Due to the hybrid nature of our events this year, it is incredibly important you are settled in your seat at the start time of the event. Please arrive in good time – once the doors are closed, we will not be able to admit latecomers to preserve the quality of the live broadcast and prevent disruption to others in the venue. Latecomers are not entitled to a refund.


Accessible seating requests

If you have any accessible seating requirements please contact the box office by emailing once you have purchased your tickets. Due to limited audience spaces and distancing rules we cannot guarantee that all requests can be met. Please also be aware that we are unable to reserve seats for others in your group because we need to ensure the most accessible seats are available for those who need them most.

Box office contact details