“What I search in a bookshop is a collection, the fact that the reader can find titles that are not necessarily brand new or oddities, but five-year-old books that have not been sold nor returned. A generous and open space.
I also search for a quality so essential yet rare: I want to find owners, managers and assistants who are true book lovers, people who enjoy their work as much as I think I would if I worked there. Professionals with the ability to get you any book you need and provide good help. Culture is becoming universal, so the reader should be able to find the book he or she needs, in any language, within a reasonable period of time”.
Luis Alberto de Cuenca
We think that every day is “Book Day”, but we love to celebrate the official World’s Book Day every April 23. This year Madrid is celebrating the 10th edition of a beloved event called “La Noche de los Libros“ (Books’ Night) and there are over 600 free cultural events planned: meetings with authors, book presentations, public readings, concerts in bookstores, workshops and activities for kids and adults and much more that you can check out here (Spanish version available only).
Madrid has fabulous bookshops and libraries, and of course beautiful places to enjoy a good book’s company. This is our selection of 10 truly unique, special bookshops in Madrid, the ones that you definitely cannot miss.
1. Panta Rhei, the book wonderland.
This shop is full of treasures, we always find a perfect gift and a great dose of inspiration. No doubt it is one of our all-time-favorite places in Madrid. Delicious books -many of them imported and very hard to find anywhere else- on photography, design, gastronomy, fashion, architecture, urban art, music, DIY… and also fascinating comics, illustrated books, artist books, essays and poetry, and much more carefully selected by Lilo and Ingrid, the creators of this wonderful space.
2. Traficantes de Sueños. A place to dream with eyes wide open.
Its name means “Dream Dealers” and indeed, this place is a dream made true. A project that was born almost two decades ago and continues supporting and spreading critical authors and ideas for a change regarding our society and environment. Contemporary and historical books about feminism, social movements, philosophy, economics, politics… Now it is a beautiful bookshop, distributor and editorial, and most of all a meeting point for readers, authors and citizens. A very special place that we love, where we feel at home.
3. Librería Desnivel. Let’s get lost.
We love Desnivel because it makes you travel with all your senses through its old shelves, full of travel guides, travelers stories, novels, essays, maps… The owners are experts on mountain climbing, alpinism, sports and nature in general, but they offer advise on all types of journeys. Here you will find everything that a traveller and adventorous heart can dream of: books, tips and tricks to explore the world.
Plaza de Matute 6, Madrid (Barrio de las Letras). Web & online shop.
This bookshop is much more than that: it is also a wine shop, art gallery, concert and event venue, cafe and bar. A place to stay and taste good wines and books that have been previously selected with great taste and care by Gonzalo, Alfonso and Curro. We find mostly fiction, but there’s also poetry, essays, and beautiful illustrated books. There’s always something interesting going on: book presentations, workshops, conferences, meetings with authors, projections and, of course, wine tastings.
5. A Punto Librería, a foodies’ paradise.
If you are a food lover like us, and we guess you are, you cannot miss this paradise with more than 5.000 titles -many of them imported- on cooking, nutrition, gastronomy, enology… They also organize cooking workshops and wine tastings, gastronomic tours and sell kitchenware, wines and movies.
6. Pasajes, the international bookshop.
This bookshop is specialized in foreign languages (English, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, Russian and a small selection of other languages). It’s one of the few bookshops we have found a truly wide set of international books, beyond the typical trendy bestseller. They also have a wide collection of books in Spanish, among which we highlight the wonderful selection of science books. And yet the best is how much they about what they’re talking about; again, good booksellers are who maintain bookshops alive.
7. Antonio Machado, the historical bookshop.
This bookshop has been spreading the love for books and culture in Madrid since 1971. What makes it really special, beyond its vast collection, is their passion and knowledge. You inmediately get the feeling that customers are much more than that, they become friends and this place feels like home. There’s a second bookstore in the ground floor of the Círculo de Bellas Artes building, one of the most special places in Madrid. In both stores you can find everything from classics to freshly pressed books, including a great selection of books for kids.
Named after Federico Fellini’s masterpiece “Otto e mezzo”, this bookshop is a declaration of love to cinema. More than 15.000 references on cinema, TV, photography and video, including books, novels, essays, thesis and scripts in different languages. They also have one of the coziest cafes around Plaza de España, right in front of two of our favorite cinemas in Madrid: Golem and Renoir Princesa.
Calle Martín de los Heros 11, Madrid. Facebook
9. La Central: the place to find it all.
A magnificent building that had been abandoned for years was transformed, two years ago, into one of the greatest bookshops in Madrid ever. Probably the most impressive one. More than 1.200 square meters, three floors and over 70.000 references from all over the world, specially Europe. We absolutely love this place: the building, the books all over, the old wooden floor and the light that fills the whole space, their recommendations, the possibility of spending hours going through the shelves and the books, the magazine section, their workshops and book clubs, the gadgets. They even have a cozy café-bistrot where you can drink a cup of coffee or eat and a cool bar in the basement where great concerts and events take place.
10. Cervantes y Compañía, the new booksellers.
Oscar and Maria had a dream that grew into a project and materialized into this great bookshop in Malasaña, a place that invites you to stay. We love this place because here we find rare, unique editions and there’s always something interesting going on: book presentations, meetings with the authors, dramatic readings or concerts every week.
Very close there’s another very special bookshop that will be soon performed in our blog: Atticus Finch, in calle de la Palma 78.
Take this map with you and explore the most special bookshops in Madrid… Let’s get lost!