For an English-speaker or an expat not fully familiar with Spanish – or the other language so important in this city, namely Catalan – it may come as a small surprise that so many books and magazines are not in English here. Spain is a large market with lots of publishing of its own, and as you may know, Catalans are very fond of preserving their area’s special language. This means that just any corner bookshop may not be worth much to a reader who wants it all in English.
So where to go if Spanish and Catalan books are not an option for anything more than studying? If you want to find cool and extensive bookshops in Barcelona, you do have a much wider and cheaper selection on the two main languages. However, there are a few great bookstores that make an expat feel much better in this sense – read on, as this time we will give you info on the best international bookstores in Barcelona (some even entirely dedicated to English publications).
For culture and arts, you can first head to Laie, a chain found in many touristic spots of the city. For comics fans Norma Comics is a must, and for any type of creative enthusiast, the place not to be missed is the wonderful La Central in Eixample. This is any reader’s heaven filled with all types of books and related products, and the cosy space has a nice cafeteria as well. If you need travel books, you can go to Altaïr, the biggest store in Europe to specialise in travel.
A purely English bookstore is found on Carrer de Balmes, and it is called Come In. It has served long and well, and this corner shop is a good resource for anyone hungry for mental food in English. Hibernian Books in Gràcia is an entirely second-hand store specializing in English books, and this friendly place has become an important part of the expat scene of Barcelona. You will find a vast selection of subjects and styles as you browse the fascinating shelves of this must-see shop in bohemian Gràcia.
Depending on your language skills, you may also find the big and established Casa del Libro useful. However, Come In and Hibernian might be better choices for an expat – like in most bookstores geared towards the general public, the offer in this central store is aimed at Spanish or Catalan-speakers.