English-language books in Rīga

On Museum Night, museums and some bookstores work longer hours, offering sizable discounts. Here are a few places where you can get your hands on English-language books in Rīga.

Robert's Books

In a central Rīga backyard is the little bookstore called Robert’s Books.

Owned by journalist Robert Cottrell, it offers English-language books for all tastes. There's place to sit, as well as coffee and drinks and a small terrace in summer.

Address: Dzirnavu st. 51.

Bolderāja

Nonfiction from Freud to Foucault and fiction from Proust to Pynchon, the Bolderāja "book cafe" (meaning they serve drinks) has titles starting from the classics to the modern and postmodern, especially the latter two perhaps. 

Daytime visitors will see people deep in books and chess games. Come at night time and who knows what you'll find, but stately owner Didzis will help you to it.

The collection leans heavily on English-language titles.

Address: Avotu st. 29. It's a run-down building with four windows facing the street.

Kafka coffee room

This elegant book room offers a selection of English-language books, including classics and travel guides. They serve amazing coffee, and lots of it!

Address: Vaļņu st. 26 on the second floor of the Globuss bookstore. 

Zvaigzne, Jāņa Rozes, Jumava

These chain stores have, as a rule, a small English-language selection comprised mostly of classics. Find them across Rīga and Latvia.

The Jumava bookstore on Dzirnavu st. 73 has a downstairs section with books - including many in the olde print of the first republic.

It smells of empty attics and old people's houses, which is good. 

Valters un Rapa

The main book shop of the Valters un Rapa chain is on three floors, probably the biggest in the Baltics.

It has a number of English classics alongside what's probably the largest collection of Latvian literature on sale everywhere.

The main store is located at Aspazijas blvd. 24, right across the street from the opera building.

Freebies

The National Library of Latvia houses the wonderful John F. Kennedy Reading Room with titles donated by US diplomats available for free.

Many of the books have notes written on their margins, always a boon as you can - sort of - try to guess at the sort of reader who had the book before you.

Address: Mūkusalas Street 3, 3rd Floor. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays.

While the Otrā Elpa charity store also holds a few English books alongside the shelves of freebies and the Latvian-language titles.

Address: Marijas st. 13.

Last call of the lyre

The Lira specialty store on Baznīcas st. 8 is as good a place as any to stock up on vinyls and books - including English-language titles.

Alas, it's closing shop on May 20, with a sale featuring 30 to 50% discounts taking place throughout May 19 and May 20.

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