Bookshops in Barcelona
Barcelona is a city of bookshops. There are more than three hundred of them: new ones, traditional ones, second hand ones... The old booksellers trades in the city date from the 15th Century and they still play a key part in the book chain. 500 titles are published every week in Spain, and that's why booksellers play a very important role as guides: they sort the wheat from the chaff and often point us in the right direction when we are lost amidst tables and shelves full of books.
Check out the Gremi de Llibreters for more information.
Every Sunday since 1936, over 15000 people visit the second-hand book stands at the Sant Antoni market, the Dominical de Sant Antoni where kids can swap their first stickers, stories or comics and adults can buy books. The origins of this market, unique in the world, date back to the Bellcaire market, Els Encants Vells, one of the oldest flea markets in Europe. As the journalist Avel·lí Artís i Gener, Tísner, said, “how to get people out into the streets is a question that is discussed at great length. Our book market shows how we have been doing just that for ages”.
The book shop trade is one of the oldest in the city and, according to old documents, dates back to the 15th century. Nowadays, there is still an extensive network of second-hand book shops, where out-of-print books, first editions or hidden treasures can be found.
Every year, the Second Hand Booksellers Guild organizes the Fira del Llibre Antic i d’Ocasió on the Passeig de Gràcia.
Literature for young readers plays a significant role in the city's literary world. In Barcelona, there is a wonderful range of specialized bookshops where you can find books for youngsters and little ones, and enjoy spending some quality time there with your children.
- Abracadabra: Abracadabra has an open and plural focus and is a bookshop that places particular emphasis on high quality books. This bookshop has a vast international section containing work in English, German, French, Italian, Dutch, and Portuguese. It also organizes numerous children’s activities, book presentations and exhibitions.
- Casa Anita: Located in the Gràcia district, Casa Anita is a bookshop specialized in illustrated albums for children and adults which prioritizes literary quality over the latest bestsellers. Casa Anita organizes several different events including workshops for schools, teachers and parents, as well as summer courses on artistic and literary creation for children and adults. Each Saint George’s Day, it holds the Gràcia Meeting for Illustrators at the Pla de Salmerón, during which illustrators sign and draw in books.
- Al·lots: Located on Carrer del Consell de Cent in the heart of the Eixample district, opened in 2012, Al·lots bookshop arranges a wide range of activities for all the family, ranging from book presentations and talks on literature for children and young people, to school activities and the monthly reading club meetings.
- La Petita: The bookshop La Petita in the Poblenou district offers a significant and carefully selected range of children's and young people’s books as well as a reading and leisure area for the little ones. At La Petita, numerous literary activities are also organized, including reading cycles for young people and storytelling for children and babies.
- Luz de Lula: At children’s and young people’s bookshop Luz de Lula in Gràcia, every week there are reading groups, storytelling and fun arts and crafts workshops to encourage reading in young children and stimulate their expression and creativity. The bookshop also offers the possibility of celebrating children's birthday parties from the age of four upwards.
- La caixa d'eines: Serving customers since 2007, La caixa d'eines is a bookshop specialized in children's and young people’s literature, comics and narratives. It is also a meeting point for children and adults where multiple book-related activities are organized, from children's activities like storytelling to arts and crafts workshops and reading clubs for all ages.
You can find different maps of libraries in Barcelona:
- Mercè Bausili, today a retired librarian at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, is the author of the blog “De llibreries per Barcelona: un passeig per la diversitat” (Barcelona bookshops: a walk through diversity), a complete bookshops' Guide of Barcelona, those which are no longer there and those which have taken their place. It is a true collection which you can consult per name, specialization and neighbourhood. More information here.
- A group of independent publishers, Contexto Editores, has designed a map of bookshops in Barcelona, which includes 122 stores.
- On this website you will also find a geolocated directory.
Bookshops in Barcelona are becoming cultural centres, and start to give high-quality literature courses, some of them by authors, others by experts. Here are some of them:
- Laie: In the Pau Claris bookshop, you can find some courses on universal literature and philosophy.
- La Central: one of the oldest bookshops in the city, it started some years ago the Acadèmia La Central, with many courses given in the 2 bookshops: Mallorca and Raval.
- No Llegiu: this Poblenou based bookshop has one full floor dedicated to the Creative Reading School, where lots of short courses are given, on many literary topics. Check here for more information.
- Documenta: this Eixample based bookshop organises courses on universal literature, classics and history of the city.
- +Bernat: in this Les Corts based bookshop teach the teachers of the Universidad Clandestina: Ignacio Echevarría, José María Micó, Gonzalo Torné, Andreu Jaume o Raffaele Pinto, among others.