Where to Buy and Sell Second-Hand Books in Madrid

How To's / Where To's, Shopping in Madrid

by Katie Goldstein

Bacchus Bar and BookshopIf you didn’t bother bringing your whole library with you to Madrid, have no fear. Madrid is home to several quality second-hand English bookshops for all your literary needs. The story doesn’t end at books, either: you can take advantage of free WiFi, intercambio and quiz nights, and liquid refreshment, too. And when you finish your books, you can always sell them back.

Petra’s International Bookshop
is a cozy spot with floor to ceiling bookshelves filled with books in all subject areas and many languages (beyond the usual suspects of English, French, and German to Russian, Chinese, and Japanese). Petra’s has a great selection (perhaps the best of the bunch) and offers complimentary coffee and tea to its patrons as well.

Metro: Ópera, Santo Domingo Address: C/ Campomanes, 13 Phone: 91 541 72 91 Hours: 11:00-21:00, closed Sundays.

J & J Books and Coffee is practically an institution in this city, not only for its books, but for its nightly events that nearly always draw a big crowd of expats and English-hungry Spaniards. Tuesdays are teachers’ nights with discounts on teaching materials, Wednesday and Thursday nights are for intercambios (Thursday is more popular), Friday nights there’s a pub quiz at 11, and Saturday nights are all you can drink for 12 euros (beer on tap and wine). There’s free WiFi too.

Metro: Noviciado Address: C/ Espíritu Santo, 47 Phone: 91 521 85 76 Hours: Monday-Thursday 11:00-24:00; Friday and Saturday 11:00-2:30; Sunday 16:00-22:00.

Bacchus Bar and Bookshop
is the newcomer to the bunch and is positioned perfectly in a student-heavy neighborhood. In the style of J & J, it has a bar, plenty of books, WiFi, and nightly events. Mondays from 8 to 9 there’s a tertulia (get-together) in English for the non-native speakers out there, Tuesdays there’s an intercambio at 8 with happy hour the two hours before (to get you loosened up, one would suppose?). And their quiz night is Wednesday at 9.

Metro: Moncloa, Argüelles Address: C/ Meléndez Valdés, 52 Phone: 91 544 73 78 Hours: 17:00-1:00 (24:00 midweek), Sunday 11:00-1:00.

See map below for bookshop locations:

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Comment from Ben
Date: February 26, 2008, 12:24 pm

Great post Katie, I can’t believe that after all this time in Madrid, I still haven’t made it do J and J books!

Comment from Alan Brown
Date: February 29, 2008, 6:49 pm

As someone new to Madrid from the USA, I was hoping to be able to buy lots of Spanish books here to help improve my language…..but I am shocked by the price of paperback books (in Spanish or English). In the USA I’d go to charity shops and used book stores….where do Madrilenos get their books? They can’t welcome paying 20 euros for current fiction books! Surely there is a vibrant used book market for Spanish language books? Where?

Comment from Katie
Date: February 29, 2008, 8:57 pm

Hi Alan,

Petra’s sells used books in many languages, Spanish included, so definitely check it out. I have seen other used book stores, but sort of random ones in my neighborhood (the Moncloa area). In many barrios I think you’ll find very small used bookstores, so it’s probably worth it to spend some time exploring. Also, on loquo.com there seems to be somewhat of a market for used book buyers/sellers: http://madrid.loquo.com/cs/compra-venta/libros-revistas/412

Good luck!

Comment from Katie
Date: March 2, 2008, 3:07 am

Today I walked by a used book store (seemed to be mostly books in Spanish) just south of the Plaza 2 de Mayo in Malasaña (on C/ San Andrés)–it’s called Arrebato Libros.

Pingback from How to Get an Intercambio in Madrid – Notes from Madrid
Date: March 7, 2008, 1:28 pm

[...] Be sure also to look into the various language nights offered throughout the city. Located in bars and bookshops and typically starting after dinner, they are the perfect chance to meet a conversation partner. (See details below.) [...]