Every English speaker misses having English bookstores. Here are the ones I found:
Come In (C/ Balmes 129) and BCN Books (Roger de Lluria 118) both have the most complete selection of fiction and non-fiction, with the former being bigger than the latter. Their selections veer towards the mainstream and the stores are not sufficiently bookish in my opinion.
If you’re only looking for pretty-mainstream fiction, then you can also try Casa del Libro (Passeig de Gracia 62) or FNAC (Pl. Catalunya 4), which unfortunately suffer from a supermarket-like atmosphere.
For the most bookish environment (and then some), head over to the Hibernian (C/ Montseny 17), a mostly second-hand fiction & non-fiction bookstore. The selection is spotty, but it does do the hushed tones of a bookstore very well… as well as the musty smell of old books.
Better store experiences can be had at La Central (my favorite branch is on C/ Mallorca 237) that has a good selection of fiction that veers towards the literary side as well as a mixed language choice of graphic novels. They also have a cafe attached to the bookstore, which is one of my favorite things in the world.
Other small bookstores also often offer a shelf full of literary fiction, such as the Laie (C/ Pau Claris 85), or if you’re looking for something in particular, I recommend:
- For photography, Kowasa (Mallorca 235)
- For design Ciclic (C/ Rec Comtal 5) + Ras (Doctor Dou 10)
- For travel Altair (Gran Via 616)
- For magazines: kiosks on La Rambla
- For blank notebooks Vincon (Passeig de Gracia 96)
In case I’m missing something, or you simply wish for an alternative viewpoint, see:
- Bookstore Guide: an amateur guide to book shopping throughout Europe
- Barcelona Metropolitan 1.0: English bookstores
- Absolute Barcelona: English bookstores
- Barcelona Sights: Best Bookshops
- Barcelona Yellow: English Bookshops
And of course, if you already know what you want, there’s always Amazon (UK).