Anyone who has travelled, and lived in a foreign country will know that at some stage, they just need to escape into their own, familiar language. The beauty of the unknown and unfamiliar manifests as the Spanish language in signs, advertisements, television, contracts, paperwork and music. But there are times when trying to decipher the Spanish language can become overwhelming. If the few books you brought with you from home have been read and read again, then it might just be time to start exploring some of Madrid’s English bookshops. Luckily, ShMadrid knows that there are several, and those in need of an English-fix can find novels, literature, and just about everything else. If you’re willing to avoid the megastores, a Saturday afternoon rummaging through a secondhand bookstore can be just the tonic that’s needed.
Related article: Top 5 Secondhand Bookshops in Madrid
J & J Books and Coffee
A Madrid institution, J&J Books is a great place to browse search for used English books. It’s also a great place to hang out at the bar for a coffee or a cerveza with other perusing expats. The bookstore is actually underground level, giving a great dungeon-like atmosphere in which to lose oneself. (Calle Espiritu Santo, 47)
Petra’s International Bookshop
Petra’s International Bookshop is packed to the rafters with English and other international titles. Primarily a purveyor of used books, they will also order in new any title you wish if they don’t currently have it in stock. It’s easy to lose a whole afternoon browsing at Petra’s, and the bilingual staff is only too happy to help you find the perfect title. (Calle Campomanes, 13)
Custa de Moyano
Located just out front of the Prado museum is the Cuesta de Moyano, a tradition book market which is sure to delight reading enthusiasts. Whilst there are no stalls exclusively devoted to English language books, there are certainly plenty of individual books to be found. Keep an eye out for classics and rare titles, collector’s items, as well as an abundance of poetry and art books. (Calle Claudio Moyano, Madrid)
Related article: A Bookworm’s Guide to Madrid
Casa del Libro
This one is part of a chain, but it is a key to sourcing not only English language books, but also those all important books on language and language learning. There are endless resources for learning Spanish, not just books, but also games and interactive media. If you’re wanting to delve into some English, but also maintain your Spanish language studies, Casa del Libro is a one stop shop! (Calle Gran Vía, 29)
Libreria Berkana (Gay and Lesbian)
A Chueca landmark for many decades, and at the forefront of gay and lesbian literature, Libreria Berkana has everything necessary for gay & lesbian readers – fiction, history, photography, gifts and more. Spend some time browsing, as most titles are available in English. You’ll find that this friendly store has something to offer every reader, while at the same time upholding a proud place in the heart of the history of gay and lesbian Madrid. (Calle Hortaleza, 62)
These are just a few of the best and most interesting places to source English language books.
Do you have a favourite bookstore in Madrid?