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.
c/ Ave María 42. 28012. Madrid
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.
You probably won't find any best sellers but looking carefully you'll surely find more than one hidden gem.
Calle Embajadores 41, 28012, Madrid
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.
This treasure is working to boost free and sustainable culture. Visit it if you can.
Calle del Duque de Alba, 13, 28012, Madrid
Metro La Latina
'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.
Traficantes is more than a bookshop, and this is not just a rhetorical figure, it's simply true.
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.
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.
Calle San Joaquín, 3 - 28004 Madrid
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.
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/