Do you like to read? If so, where do you get your books?

First of all, let me introduce myself :)
The name is Sonja and I'm a postgrad student of English lit.

Anyway, my boyfriend and I (since we both love to travel, read and soon one of us will become an expat since we are situated in two different countries) have been running a blog on European bookstores (Bookstore Guide) for a year now. When we travel, we usually spend most of the time browsing for books - not because we NEED them, but yes, we NEED them as food for our souls, so to say.

Anyway, since our blog is for book lovers, expats and travelers (and the combinations of three), we were wondering if any of you knew some independent bookstores out there, anywhere in Europe that you can recommend to us?

So, do you read books in English? If so, where do you buy them in Europe? Which bookstores and what are they like?

Hey Sonja, welcome !

I'm the combination of the three too :-) But I normally buy my books in the airports and train stations bookshops across the world when I travel ! :-D I try not to buy any book while in town as I believe I have all I need in my bags already and I love to travel light :-)

In France I always struggle to find a decent book supplier, living as I do in a rather remote part of Provence. Have to resort to the English language books section of, I'm afraid! But just a little anecdote; you can come across some real gems in the most unexpected of places. Just across the valley from me, in the tiny hamlet 'L'Eglise' of the village Beaumont du Ventoux (in the Vaucluse department), there is, amazingly, a British Library - with tens of thousands of books! Collected by the Stapleton family over several decades as expats, it really is a unique find for the book lover. So should you ever set off on your travels in that direction, it's well worth a visit ...

Amazon UK...sad but true...there are a few good stores in Barcelona, I'll work on names and there is one fantastic used bookstore on the road that runs between Las Ramblas and Placa Madrid, on the south side of that street...not much help, I'll work on something more concrete

Welcome on board sonjica!

Hi everyone, and thanks for the welcome, esp Julien :)

Jo Ann, I completely get you when you say you don't want to drag any books, but sometimes I just can't help it. I'm a sucker for secondhand books - and not just because of their price..

Wedders, I tried googling up some info on it, but there seems to be none online. Is the library open to public? Any admission fees? Just for display? Sounds really interesting. I can imagine how long it took them to collect all the books when they're so famous for it.. at least, by what you said..

orenta, perhaps you mean the Elephant bookstore? Unfortunately, we were there this summer and the bookstore has moved. What a disappointment..

Its officially known as the 'Beaumont English Language Library', but I doubt you'll find any information about it online. It's a strictly old-fashioned operation! A hobby of two Quakers, Pat and Brian Stapleton. Brian died recently. Son Paul and his wife June, two artists, look after things now, although Pat was still going strong with her teaching in France and elsewhere around the world last time I heard. Brian's obit - the only mention I could find of the couple online - doesn't even mention the library.

Easy to find though, but the best I can do is a phone number.

Nope, it's still is primarily used books, mostly in Catalan and Spanish, but has a good supply of English and other languages as well...I am not in Spain this week, but I will look when I get back...

I have bought books from Amazon and there are few local book stores that sell English books. When I make the rare visit to the UK I usually end up with another book or two.

Then of course there are the books the neighbours bring here. Have done a fair bit of swapping and lending of books.

Wow, a post after my own heart! I'm also a literature student, and my husband and I can always be found at used book stores when we travel.

In Barcelona, my favorite places are:

La Central (Catalan and Spanish, but a great choice of English-language books, and they also put on interesting events; two locations)

Laie (similar in style and range to La Central,  also with a great café)

Documenta (not a great selection of English books but a nice independent bookstore) … en/splash/

Also, if you have the opportunity, the beautiful (and newly restored) library in the Ateneu Barcelonès is really worth a visit.

I've only been here a few months, so still looking for good bookstores!

For Brussels I have more recommendations since I lived there longer. I often bought books at:

Nicola's Bookshop (English-language books from around the world, also a few used books)

Sterling Books (huge selection of English-language books)

Libris, in the Toison d'Or (mostly French, but some well-chosen English books, and they give a ten-percent discount to students) … ndex?prov=

Passa Porta (has a good selection of English-language books, organizes amazing literary events, and sponsors literary prizes) … en/splash/

There are a whole string of used bookstores on Anspaachlaan, including Pele Mele, which is fun for browsing.

Filigranes has a great selection but all in French.

There's also a Waterstone's in Brussels.

wow, cantdocell, thanks for all the recommendations. It's funny that we've been to the same bookstores..
For example, in August, we visited both La Central and Laie
(we are going to mention them in our reports from Madrid and Barcelona).. La Central was good but Laie sort of didn't meet our expectations..

Since you've just moved to BCN, perhaps this could help you. We didn't visit the Elephant bookstore because they're currently moving location, and Hibernian Books because they were on holidays but we've heard to many great things about the latter so you just have to check it out.

As for Brussels, you can see that we've only been to Sterling Books (and were quite impressed) and Filigranes. We'll surely check it other ones out online.

It's so great to know that you like to read and browse for books so thanks for your recommendations.

Merry welcome :)

I used to buy them on amazon (used) while I was in Korea and even here in Hungary.
For some reason amazon doesn't ship Hungary any more though *shrug*

In Germany I went to the local book stores. Most of them have at least some books in English or you can order them.
Flea markets are always a good source or "used book stores"

Then, there's always ebay. You can usually send the Seller an email and deal with the shipping prices.

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