A Bookstore Tour of Barcelona

It’s no secret that many bookstores have struggled in recent years. Online retailers like Amazon offer cheap books, while eBooks are convenient substitutes for bulky hardbacks.

Still, it’s not all doom and gloom for brick and mortar bookstores. Numerous studies have shown that many people still prefer physical books.

Barcelona is a great destination for bookworms. You can find contemporary novels, classics and non-fiction in several languages in locations throughout the city. I drew up a “bookstore tour” plan for myself and decided to share it here. I stuck to Eixample, but there are bookshops everywhere, including in the popular Raval and Gràcia neighbourhoods.

In total, this walking and book-browsing tour took me just under three hours—coffee and cake not included. I’ve included the walking times between each of the stores. They’re all worthy of a visit, though, whether independently or as part of a longer book shopping session.

(1) Re-Read Llibreria Lowcost

There’s no shortage of bookstores in Barcelona, but the books are usually not cheap. If you’re on a budget, Re-Read Librería is ideal. It stocks high-quality second-hand books. You can also sell your own. The English section of this small shop on Carrer del Rosselló is modest, but included a reasonable range of novels.

Re-Read Llibreria Lowcost
Re-Read Llibreria Lowcost. “Any book that you haven’t read is a new book.”

5 minute walk to…

(2) Come In Llibreria Anglesa

As the name suggests, Come in Llibreria Anglesa is an English bookstore. It sells an extensive range of health, politics and business titles as well as novels. I spent a lot of time browsing the science section. Focusing on accessible science books for non-experts, you can find titles by Dawkins, Hawking, deGrasse Tyson and New Scientist, for example.

Science books in Come In English bookstore
Science books in Come In English bookstore

5 minute walk to…

(3) La Impossible

A small and nicely laid out bookstore including sizeable YA and children’s book sections. The English language books are at the front of the store and mostly include contemporary novels, with a few classics also available.

Street leading to La Impossible bookstore
Street leading to La Impossible bookstore

5 minute walk to…

(4) La Central

This large bookstore stocks a good combination of English and Spanish books on history, politics and other non-fiction topics. On the fiction side, there’s a large English language collection of contemporary and classic books. I must have seen at least two different versions of everything F. Scott Fitzgerald has ever written—surely a good sign. Upstairs there is a small and cozy cafe serving coffee, juices, sandwiches, cakes and cookies.

There’s another branch based in Raval on Carrer d’Elisabets.

Posters in La Central bookstore
Posters in La Central bookstore

10 minute walk to…

(5) Llibreria Documenta

Just around the corner from the excellent Museu Egipci, this humanities and arts-focused bookstore prioritises substance over style. The bare walls are amply covered by a fine selection of non-fiction books. The majority are castellano (Spanish), though there are decent bookcases stocking English and Catalan books. There’s a small but comfy reading space at the back of the store.

Simple layout in Llibreria Documenta bookstore
Simple layout in Llibreria Documenta bookstore

10 minute walk to…

(6) ALIBRI Llibreria

ALIBRI is a large bookstore that feels a bit more like a library. Most of the books are in Spanish, but there is a reasonable Catalan section and few English language books dotted around, too.

Posters in ALIBRI Llibreria celebrating female writers
Posters in ALIBRI Llibreria celebrating female writers

By the way, if you’re in need of stationery, Pepa Paper is just around the corner from ALIBRI and stocks every type of notebook and folder you could ever dream of.

5 minute walk to…

(7) Bookstore Altaïr

Set over two floors, Altaïr is a fantastic travel bookshop. The store is primarily divided by region and most of the books are in castellano. Plenty of English and Catalan language books can be found, though. Once you’ve been thoroughly worn out by all the wanderlust, you can retire to the spacious cafe downstairs. There’s an assortment of chairs and sofas to plonk yourself down on for a coffee and a read.

There’s also a noticeboard at the front of the shop where you can find and advertise for travel companions.

Travel companions noticeboard at Altaïr
Travel companions noticeboard at Altaïr

5 minute walk to…

(8) Laie

The final stop on my bookstore tour is Laie. This modern and well-lit shop has an emphasis on non-fiction, with broad collections of art, philosophy, history and poetry books. There’s a cute little cafe upstairs, but my main reason for picking Laie as the final stop is its location on Carrer de Pau Claris. It’s next door to a funky cocktail bar and across the street from one of my favourite cafes in Barcelona, Pudding. I may or may not have made a beeline for cake afterwards…

 

And there ended my little tour. If you have know any other great bookstores in Barcelona please let me know!

 

Sources:

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/27/print-ebooks-studies_n_6762674.htm

https://www.statista.com/topics/1177/book-market/

https://www.newstatesman.com/microsites/skills/2017/07/how-new-attitude-work-saved-britain-s-bookshops

https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2016/oct/16/barcelona-bookshops-tour-bookworms-paradise

6 thoughts on “A Bookstore Tour of Barcelona

  1. English or Spanish… I love browsing through book shops. I wish so many of the independent shops weren’t struggling so much. My favourite (and nearest to my home) closed a couple years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

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