When Robert Topping was sacked from a well-known bookstore for refusing to cut back on the titles he stocked, he was unaware of just how life-changing it would be.

A passionate bibliophile and bookseller, he eventually went on to open his own independent shop, Topping & Company, determined that it should offer as wide a range of titles as possible.

Now 17 years on, his family business is about to open its fourth store in a grade-A listed former bank in Edinburgh - and Mr Topping’s vision of literary variety continues, with the store offering customers the chance to browse more than 70,000 books.

The 4,000 sq ft building, designed by William Playfair, the founding father of Edinburgh’s New Town, will now house impressive tall wooden bookcases with rolling library ladders, an unusual oval arts section and a children’s department offering striking views over Calton Hill.

Mr Topping’s son Hugh, who will run the new bookshop with his sister Cornelia, said he and his family are committed to offering customers a different experience to the world of online shopping and ebooks.

“We absolutely believe in the physical book and the printed word,” he said. “The book is a brilliant piece of technology and it’s so brilliant that it’s remained virtually unchanged.

“We put everything behind that belief in the physical book, so the books people see on our shelves haven’t been selected by some creepy algorithm that’s built a profile on you and is just giving you what it thinks you’ll buy.

“It’s just a huge range that gives you a chance to wander round and make selections for yourself and choose books that you maybe wouldn’t see if you were just scrolling through a list.”

Recent figures suggest that independent bookshops are on the rise, with data from the Booksellers Association showing they increased by 15 to 883 last year - bucking the general trend of decline on the high street.

Meanwhile, ebooks are losing popularity, with figures last year showing that sales had dropped 20% since 2014.

Topping’s first store opened in Ely Cambridgeshire in 2002, with shops in Bath and St Andrews following soon after.

The Edinburgh store will open on Sunday and has already welcomed a wealth of famous authors - including Val McDermid, Ian Rankin, and Salman Rishdie - into its premises to sign copies of their books.

Mr Topping said: “Edinburgh is a great book-ish city with so much going on in the literary scene, and we’ve admired it from a distance from St Andrews for a long time.

“We’ve always wanted to be part of it and when we came across the property at Blenheim Place, it’s just such a brilliant building that we absolutely fell in love with it so we went for it.

“It’s a beautiful Playfair building, you’ll walk in the front door and you’ll se all of our fantastic wooden bookcases with our rolling library ladders. But what you’re seeing is actually only about a third of the bookshop.

“Most of the shop is upstairs, so when you go upstairs you’ll see all of these different rooms which all have a different feel to them, with bookcases that have been made to fit the building. We’ll also do complimentary tea and coffee for browsers when we can.

“We’re really focused on creating a brilliant experience for browsing and discovering books.”

All of the books in the Edinburgh store will be hand-picked by the booksellers working at the former RBS site - something Robert Topping has always felt strongly about since his dismissal.

His son explained: “My dad was working with Tim Waterstone in the very early days of Waterstones and then Tim moved on from the company and it was eventually taken over by HMV who instituted a lot of more corporate policies and shifted the focus from bookshops that were run by booksellers to central buying and ordering from head office.

“He was ordered to have fewer books on offer in the bookshop and he refused, so they fired him.

“Of course, it all actually turned out for the best and that’s what gives us our focus on having the biggest range of books that we possibly can, and ensuring our booksellers are the ones placing the orders.

“It’s about having all kinds of different books and not just big bestsellers.”