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If you want to learn to say “book” in Spanish, you’re my kind of people.
As a book lover and a language lover, I’ve read books in all four languages I speak fluently, including Spanish! So I know just how to teach you about bookish Spanish vocabulary. I’m beyond happy to do it!
Let’s start with a quick overview. Here’s how you say:
- “book” in Spanish – libro
- “comic book” in Spanish – libro de cómics or cómics
- “library” in Spanish – biblioteca
- “bookshop” in Spanish – libreria
- “to read” in Spanish – leer
Now that you’ve got a taste of Spanish bookish vocabulary, follow me through this post. I’ll teach you more words, give you recommendations, and more!
Grab your favorite bookmark and let’s go!
“Book” in Spanish – How to Say “Book” in Spanish: Libro
The Spanish word for “book” comes from the Latin word liber. Liber describes the raw material for papermaking that the Romans used.
Libro is a masculine noun, so it goes with the articles un (“a”) and el (“the”) if singular. When it is in plural form, libros, the articles become unos (“some”) and los (“the”).
Here is some Spanish vocabulary related to books:
- una palabra – “a word” → plural: unas palabras
- una página – “a page” → plural: unas páginas
- un capítulo – “a chapter” → plural: unos capítulos
- una serie – “a series” → plural: unas series
- un título – “a title” → plural: unos títulos
- el autor/la autora – “the author” → plural: unos autores/unas autoras
- un escritor/una escritora – “a writer” → plural: unos escritores/unas escritoras
- un personaje – “a character” → plural: unos personajes
- una biblioteca – “a library” → plural: unas bibliotecas
- una libreria – “a bookshop” → plural: unas librerias
- ser un ratón de biblioteca – “to be a bookworm”, literally “a library rat”
How to Say “Comic Book” in Spanish: Libro de Cómics or Cómics
Like any other language, Spanish is rich in what it calls extranjerismos. These are foreign words that a language adopts to describe a new concept or object for which it has no word itself.
What sometimes happens with the extranjerismos is that the spelling of the words changes, even if only slightly, to adapt to the new language. Some examples in Spanish include catchú or cachú (“ketchup”) and champú (“shampoo”). The same happens to the words for “comic book”.
In Spanish, a “comic book” is a libro de cómics or simply cómics. You might also hear it as tebeo, the phonetic adaptation of the famous Spanish comic magazine TBO.
Here is some Spanish vocabulary related to comic books:
- manga – “manga”
- cómic or historieta – “comics story”
- burbuja de diálogo – “speech bubble”
- onomatopeya – “onomatopeia”
- dibujante or caricaturista – “cartoonist”
- tira cómica – “comic strip”
- webcómics – “webcomics”
A List of the Best Hispanic Comics
If comics are your thing, you should check out some of the most famous Hispanic comic book stories and characters.
- Mafalda: an Argentinian 6-year-old girl that will remind you of Lucy and Charlie Brown
- El Eternauta: another Argentinian production, except this one is less humorous and centered on an alien invasion
- Condorito: the Chilean condor whose purpose is only to entertain and represent Chileans in an authentic way
- Mortadelo y Filemón: two Spanish secret agents that always end up getting the best out of any situation despite their incompetence
- Capitán Trueno: which in English translates to “Captain Thunder”, the Spanish knight hero
Before we jump on to the next section… If you’re a fan of comic books, I’ve got a surprise for you. Benny wrote a post on how to talk about superheroes in Spanish with other related vocabulary, and I’m sure it’s right up your alley. Give it a read!
How to Say “Books of the Bible” in Spanish and Other Holy Books
It would be hard to talk about books in Spanish without mentioning Holy Books. Spain, and by consequence all the Hispanic countries, have been tightly tied to religion throughout their histories.
Spain has a strong Catholic culture, so knowing that la Biblia is “the Bible” might be useful to you. The “Books of the Bible” are los libros de la Biblia.
But the religion of Islam has also had a big impact on Spain, and Spain has an important Muslim community today. The holy book of Islam is el Sagrado Corán (“the Sacred Quran”).
It might be more rare for you to come across these holy books in Spanish, but you should still know that they call the Jewish Torah Torá or Pentateuco and the Buddist Tripitaka Tripitaka or Tipitaka.
The Harry Potter Books in Spanish
Nearly as popular as the Bible, the Harry Potter books were translated to Spanish, too. As they’re very famous, I wouldn’t want to let you go to a Hispanic region without knowing how to mention them.
For my fellow Potterheads, here are the Spanish titles of the seven original Harry Potter books:
- Harry Potter y la piedra filosofal – “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer's Stone”
- Harry Potter y la cámara secreta – “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” (literally “Harry Potter and the Secret Chamber”)
- Harry Potter y el prisionero de Azkaban – “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”
- Harry Potter y el cáliz de fuego – “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”
- Harry Potter y la Orden del Fénix – “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”
- Harry Potter y el misterio del príncipe – “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” (literally “Harry Potter and the Mystery of the Prince”)
- Harry Potter y las reliquias de la muerte – “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” (literally “Harry Potter and the Relics of Death”)
If you’re really into the Harry Potter series, you might also want to know that Harry Potter y el legado maldito is the Spanish name for “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”, Animales fantásticos y dónde encontrarlos is “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”, Quidditch a través de los tiempos is “Quidditch Through the Ages”, and Los cuentos de Beedle el Bardo is “The Tales of Beedle the Bard”.
Am I missing any?
Read a Book in Spanish
In case I haven’t said this enough, I’ll repeat it: the best way to fluency is full immersion.
But full immersion isn’t only about speaking and listening. It also works with reading. This is why I want to encourage you to read in Spanish.
It will help you to understand idioms and when to use them and improve your use of vocabulary and conjugation. But there’s more, and it’s about your experience as a reader.
As a quadrilingual bookworm (aka someone who has read books in all four languages she knows), I’ve come to know that something will always be lost in translation. A joke out of its culture is out of context, or not all wordplays can be adapted, or alliterations will disappear. You don’t want to miss out on them.
Reading books in Spanish and English works as well, as long as you have to make an effort with a Spanish text. I’ll give you a recommendation in a moment.
Amazon Books in Spanish
After almost bullying you into reading books in Spanish, it would be horrible of me not to help you find some. So I’ve gathered some recommendations for books to read in Spanish.
To make sure they’d be relatively easy to find, I’ve looked for them on Amazon.
Let’s start with a few light reads.
For Beginner and Intermediate Students: Short Stories in Spanish
Short Stories are a great choice if you’re a beginner or intermediate Spanish learner. They allow you to focus on the vocabulary and use of language without having to cram character names or plot twists into your head.
The first short story books you might want to check out are Olly Richards’ Short Stories in Spanish for Beginners and Short Stories in Spanish for Intermediate Learners. Olly’s Uncovered courses teach a foreign language with the help of storytelling, so he knows his way around stories.
Elizabeth tried his Spanish Uncovered course and loved it!
You could also look into Spanish Stories: A Dual-Language Book, a collection of 13 Spanish short stories. It will help you understand not only new Spanish vocabulary but also Spanish culture and the evolution of its literature.
What’s great about this book is that it contains Spanish works by Spanish authors… But they are also translated into English. Comparing the two versions will help you even more than using a translation app could.
For Advanced Learners: Some Isabel Allende Books in Spanish
If you want to read a Spanish book in Spanish, you could turn to one of the most famous Hispanic authors at the moment.
Isabel Allende is a Peruvian author with more than 20 novels under her name. She writes about historical events, reality, and myths and focuses on the life of women. Her works have been translated in 35 languages and she has sold over 70 million copies.
If you’re one of her fans, try reading one of the novels you liked in Allende’s native tongue. If you’ve just discovered her, I can recommend a couple of her books.
You may want to start with her first novel, La Casa de los Espíritus (“The House of the Spirits”). Maybe you’d like to try her most cherished book, the memoir Paula. Or you could read her latest work? It’s Largo Pétalo de Mar (“A Long Petal of the Sea”).
What Is the Book in Spanish?
What is the book that all Spanish lovers should read? This is an interesting question. Its answer obviously depends on who you ask.
I can’t choose only one book, so here are three that often get mentioned:
- Don Quijote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
- Cien años de soledad by Gabriel García Márquez
- El alquimista by Paulo Coelho
Start Your Book Club in Spanish
Now that you’ve got a list of potential Spanish reads, why not start your own grupo de lectura (“book club”)?
Being part of a book club is a great way to practice your use of new vocabulary. Plus, it stretches the impact of reading on your learning even further. You’d be able to discuss the culture and history behind what you’re reading.
And it goes without saying that learning along with someone else is motivating. It makes it more fun.
But you might not have many people around you who are willing to be a member of your Spanish book club. (Being elite isn’t for everyone.)
Don’t worry! The Fluent in 3 Months team has got your back for this too. If you can't pull a Spanish book club together, you could join the Fluent in 3 Months Challenge. It’s got a warm community spirit. The Challengers speak of their learning process, share techniques, and support each other.
Spanish is one of the most popular languages in the Challenge, so you’ll surely find reading buddies!
How to Say “to Read” in Spanish: Leer
What kind of bookworm would I be if I wrote a post on bookish vocabulary and didn’t teach you about the verb “to read” in Spanish?
So this is precisely what I want to do before we say goodbye.
“To read” in Spanish is leer. Leer belongs to the second group of Spanish verbs because it ends in -er and, lucky you, it’s regular. This means that it’s one of the simplest verbs to learn in Spanish conjugation.
Reading is amazing in all senses.
To make your knowledge more complete, I’ve prepared a chart with some of the most important tenses so you can learn the conjugation of leer.
But you might like to review the Spanish subject pronouns before. Here is a chart to help you with that.
|Spanish Pronouns||English Equivalents|
|tú||you (singular and informal)|
|vos||you (singular and informal only in some Latin American countries)|
|él, ella, usted||he, she, you (singular formal)|
|vosotros, vosotras||you (plural informal in Spain)|
|ellos, ellas, ustedes||they (masculine or general), they (feminine), you (plural formal)|
Now that you’re refreshed, here’s the conjugation chart:
|Pretérito||Imperfecto||Pretérito Perfecto||Presente||Futuro||Condicional||Subjuntivo Presente|
|yo leí||yo leía||yo he leído||yo leo||yo leeré||yo leería||yo lea|
|tú leíste||tú leías||tú has leído||tú lees||tú leerás||tú leerías||tú leas|
|vos leíste||vos leías||vos has leído||vos leés||vos leerás||vos leerías||vos leas|
|él, ella, usted leyó||él, ella, usted leía||él, ella, usted ha leído||él, ella, usted lee||él, ella, usted leerá||él, ella, usted leería||él, ella, usted lea|
|nosotros, nosotras leímos||nosotros, nosotras leíamos||nosotros, nosotras hemos leído||nosotros, nosotras leemos||nosotros, nosotras leeremos||nosotros, nosotras leeríamos||nosotros, nosotras leamos|
|vosotros, vosotras leísteis||vosotros, vosotras leíais||vosotros, vosotras habéis leído||vosotros, vosotras leéis||vosotros, vosotras leeréis||vosotros, vosotras leeríais||vosotros, vosotras leáis|
|ellos, ellas, ustedes leyeron||ellos, ellas, ustedes leían||ellos, ellas, ustedes han leído||ellos, ellas, ustedes leen||ellos, ellas, ustedes leerán||ellos, ellas, ustedes leerían||ellos, ellas, ustedes lean|
Now Go Read a Book in Spanish!
All right, you don’t have to. But like I said earlier in the post, it would be one of the best ways for you to get into contact with real Spanish! If you’re serious about achieving fluency, you might want to think about it.
But I understand you might not have the time or energy for a whole Spanish book right now. If that’s the case, you can look for a great alternative to improve your Spanish.
The best way to do it is to look at this list that Benny Lewis put together. That’s where you’ll find the best resources on the Internet for Spanish learning all in one place!
Well… After all the fun we had, I guess it’s time to say ¡hasta luego! (“goodbye”).