What are you reading next? – Madrid's Bookshop City Guide

One of the things that can help you get a sense of a city's cultural vibe are its bookshops. Presenting Madrid's Bookshop City Guide, where you'll find quirky recommendations for book lovers and what not.

Published by Sara on 26/10/2017

Madrid is usually sunny, so reading on a bench is one of these rare life pleasures; where would you go to buy a new book? From the classics to the new, check out this guide along five of the most charming libraries in town.

Bajo el Volcán

c/ Ave María 42. 28012. Madrid
Metro Lavapiés

A City Made By People Reading In Marid Bookshop Scene Bajoelvolcán 4
A City Made By People Reading In Marid Bookshop Scene Bajoelvolcán 2

Named after the glorious Malcolm Lowry's Under the Volcano, this homely place started selling and buying vinyls and has also a corner dedicated to books related to music (and more) plus a selection of DVDs. The owner, Fernando, changed a rock bar counter by the bookshop table and guess what? It still stands.

A City Made By People Reading In Marid Bookshop Scene Bajoelvolcán 3

You probably won't find any best sellers but looking carefully you'll surely find more than one hidden gem.

La Casquería

Calle Embajadores 41, 28012, Madrid
Metro Lavapiés/Embajadores

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A City Made By People Reading In Marid Bookshop Scene La Casquería 1

They sell used books per kg, 10 euros/kg to be accurate. The concept is thought to be a collaborative project to give used books a second life. In total, 6 workers and volunteers shape the staff of this tiny but hectic place in the Mercado de San Fernando. Applying their recycling model, they took the space of an old 'casquería' (offal shop), where you could find the insides of different animals.

A City Made By People Reading In Marid Bookshop Scene La Casquería 3
A City Made By People Reading In Marid Bookshop Scene La Casquería 2

This treasure is working to boost free and sustainable culture. Visit it if you can. 

Traficantes de Sueños

Calle del Duque de Alba, 13, 28012, Madrid
Metro La Latina

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A City Made By People Reading In Marid Bookshop Scene Traficantes De Sueños 2

'Transformative collective action through debate and literature.' That’s what they are doing. This bookshop, born in 1995, is a co-operative and a distribution company which even has a publishing firm. People can pitch in with countless activities: from sharing info to writing reviews.

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A City Made By People Reading In Marid Bookshop Scene Traficantes De Sueños 1

Traficantes is more than a bookshop, and this is not just a rhetorical figure, it's simply true.

8 y Medio

Calle Martín de los Heros, 11 - 28008 Madrid
Metro Plaza de España

A Paradise for cinema nostalgics. Literally. The owners wanted to create a space with material as specialized as an architecture or medicine bookshop, with not only books about movies but also about film theory.

A City Made By People Reading In Marid Bookshop Scene 8 Y Medio 2
A City Made By People Reading In Marid Bookshop Scene 8 Y Medio 1

The history of the owners is as nostalgic as the vibe of the place: they met decades ago and took and old bookshop that was about to close. Years after, 8 y Medio has become a sanctuary and a place where you can find anything (cinema related) you can think of.

Tipos Infames

Calle San Joaquín, 3 - 28004 Madrid
Metro Tribunal

Yes, Tipos Infames is a hipster cave. But it definitely has something more. Apart from selling books these three friends (Alfonso, Gonzalo and Francisco) also sell wine, coffee and organize events. And they even lend you their space if you want to do your own thing, from presenting a book to showcase art.

A City Made By People Reading In Marid Bookshop Scene Tipos Infames 2
A City Made By People Reading In Marid Bookshop Scene Tipos Infames 1

Ah! they also welcome ideas that are not listed in the common sense list. 

Words by Sara Paz
Pictures by Marta Aguilar & Patricia Cabeza

Hey City Enthusiast! If you enjoyed reading Marta's story on Madrid's quirky bookshops, check out our Madrid chapter on Issue 2 of our print journal here: https://store.acitymadebypeople.com/

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