When purchasing books in Croatia, you have the comfort of being creative. Bookstores, webshops, book fairs, second-hand bookshops, flea markets – each brings a special joy to book lovers.
People who cherish their reading habits will be thrilled to quench their thirst at numerous Croatian book fairs and festivals. The book festival season starts in November and is the most fruitful during autumn.
The alternative options for buying books may also leave you stunned. If you follow closely, you may get a book of your desire or a rare, valuable example at a symbolic price or for free.
At the end of the day, affording a new lump of knowledge for your home collection is always an adventure and proper choice.
In this post, we cover:
- Physical and online bookstores
- Alternative book points
- Books in foreign languages
- Books for a Croatian language course
- Book festivals and fairs
- Where to buy books in foreign languages outside of Croatia
- Sara’s book club
Let’s open the page…
Where to purchase books in Croatia – physical and online bookstores, book fairs, and festivals
We gathered some of the biggest Croatian bookstores in one place to help you remember them when mingling around the streets of larger cities. All of them have immense book offers, including domestic and international authors and distinct category scopes.
As I mentioned, covered bookstores mostly own physical stores in bigger cities. However, each has an online store, so you can browse their offer and buy desired books without leaving your armchair. Most of them also have book blogs covering relevant literary news and topics.
In smaller cities, bookstores are usually connected to paper shops called papirnica. Their offer is more modest and usually focuses on office and school assortments. You can also buy certain books at some postal offices, Narodne Novine, and booths such as Tisak.
A list of all Croatian publishers and bookstores, together with links to their websites and social networks, is available here.
Here are some of the most significant Croatian bookstores.
Fraktura is a publishing house established in 2002. Fraktura is focused on publishing quality fiction and non-fiction, primarily on European authors. They publish approximately 60 new titles annually.
#2 Hoću knjigu
Hoću knjigu is a relatively new but successful chain of bookstores with a fantastic offer in the biggest Croatian cities. In addition to selling books, they organize book promotions, book clubs, and similar literary events.
The old bookstore Ljevak operates at the main Zagreb city square – Trg bana Josipa Jelačića. Thanks to its long lifetime (they operate since 1964), Ljevak traditionally gathers generations of readers and offers a significant volume of books, including literary and professional content, schoolbooks, and children’s books.
#4 Mozaik knjiga
Mozaik knjiga is one of Croatia’s leading publishers, also selling books in its online store. They publish more than 150 new titles and 100 reissues of popular books every year.
The first and biggest Croatian book club called Svijet knjige (The world of book) operates within Mozaik knjiga. It has more than 30.000 members who are lucky to buy books at special discounts.
#5 Super knjižara
Super knjižara is a bookstore that sells books written by domestic and international authors as well as a wide range of old and rare books. It was founded in 2001 and is located at Roosevelt’s square in Zagreb.
Školska knjiga is a publisher founded in 1950 who specializes in the education and upbringing fields. They publish books, dictionaries, lexicons, professional and children’s magazines, and encyclopedias.
VBZ is another publisher with a tradition longer than 30 years. Their physical bookstores can be found in larger Croatian cities. You can find a list of VBZ’s bookstores in Croatia here.
Znanje is one of the oldest publishers in Croatia with 7 bookstores operating throughout Croatia. They publish approximately 130 new titles per year. A list of Znanje’s bookstores is available here.
Although a smell of a new book is irreplaceable, there is something special in holding an old one that passed through who knows how many curious hands.
If you cannot visit the bookstore or do not prefer online shopping, you can go to alternative stores and find your dream book. And if you are persistent and lucky, you may come across a real treasure without spending a fortune.
Let’s take a look at other places where you can buy a book.
#1 Second-hand bookshops
A second-hand bookshop is called antikvarijat in Croatian. Second-hand bookshops are pretty popular among book collectors. The possibility that a rare or valuable book is hidden on their shelves is common. If you are lucky, you may grab a superb example of a well-preserved book for a significantly low price.
Second-hand bookshops are also a good solution for buying schoolbooks for your children at lower prices. For best results, visit them immediately after the school publishes the list of schoolbooks for the following year. Otherwise, you might be late.
A list of second-hand bookshops in Croatia is available here.
Another proper source for finding desired books is Njuškalo. Njuškalo is the biggest Croatian advertising web site where people sell and buy different kinds of products. You could call it “Croatia’s Craigslist”.
On Njuškalo, you can often find different genres of books and magazines that people sell at relatively low prices. You may even find someone who gives away an interesting book they no longer need. Book ads are published under the category Literatura (Literature), which is available here.
#3 Flea market
A flea market is called buvljak in Croatian. It is a place where you can buy or exchange different sorts of used goods in an open space. Flea markets are often organized in parks or libraries by local organizations such as book clubs or udruga. They are usually open to everyone which means everyone can sell and buy books.
If you are staying in Zagreb, we recommend visiting the legendary buvljak called Hrelić – heaven for lovers of recycling and cheap. It is open on Wednesdays and Sundays from 6:00 to 14:00. Come as early as possible to grab the best buy. You may be surprised by what you can find for next to nothing.
#4 Book write-off
Specific local libraries and faculties sometimes write off books. This means they sell them at symbolic prices or eventually give them away for free. It would be wise to ask them directly for more information. Then you will be ready to chop that marvelous book when the time comes!
# 5 Facebook groups
Social networks are perfect places for book exchange, selling, and buying. If you have duplicates or excess books and want to get rid of them, offer them in Facebook groups. The possibility you’ll find someone interested who lives near you is quite good.
Are you pleased with bizarre, almost unbelievable situations – the ones we call coincidences? If you have already given up on finding a specific book, you have nothing to lose by trying on Facebook. The “coincidence” may happen to you as well. You may also meet someone who shares the same literary interests.
Here are a few book-buying/selling Facebook groups:
- Pronađi knjigu – buvljak
- Knjige aukcije 850 VIP
- KNJIGE – prodaj/zamijeni/pokloni
- Knjige – prodaja, kupnja
- Knjige i dvd-i prodaja, zamjena….
- Second-hand KNJIŽARA
Books written in English or other foreign languages can be physically bought in almost all the bookstores we mentioned in the previous section. In fact, most likely, you will find many books written in English. Other foreign languages are less represented. However, the offer varies in each bookstore.
Books written in foreign languages can also be purchased in online stores.
Libristo.hr sells books written in different languages, including English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Chinese. You can check out their offer and prices here.
Knjižara i antikvarijat Brala from Zagreb also has a webshop where they primarily sell books written in English. View their offer here.
We also recommend reviewing Dobra knjiga’s offer here, which is mainly in English.
Croaticum, a section of the Croatian Language and Literature Department of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb, offers online and in-person courses for learning the Croatian language.
If you are considering learning the Croatian language, view our guide on the biggest Croatian language schools in Croatia here.
For the ones who prefer remote and more independent learning, we prepared a guide on free and paid online courses for learning the Croatian language. You can view it here.
If you think we are done with this listing, we finally came to the sweetest part. Among all the places where you can purchase books, Croatian book fairs and festivals for sure have the most charming atmosphere.
The season of Croatian book festivals usually starts in September. Let’s introduce the ones that will spark your imagination.
#1 Crtani romani šou
Comic enthusiasts will most definitely enjoy Crtani romani šou – CRŠ (Zagreb Comic Con) – a comic fair devoted to comics and its fans. So far, it hosted some of the most prominent international cartoonists and comic authors. CRŠ is a winning combination to obtain rare examples or stay on track with the latest publications.
Date: Usually late spring or autumn
#2 Festival svjetske književnosti
Festival svjetske književnosti (World Literature Festival) was established in 2013 by the publishing house Fraktura. For the ones who admire prominent international authors, this festival is inevitable. You can listen to their stories and eventually meet them in person.
Date: September 4 – September 9, 2022
Existing since 1977, Interliber is the most beloved Croatian book fair with the longest tradition. Bookworms diligently write down significant titles throughout the year in order to catch them on Interliber.
If you have a chance, visit the fair during the week in the morning. During the weekends, it is too crowded, and you will not be able to comfortably review the offer.
Date: November 8 – November 13, 2022
Location: Zagreb Fair, Avenija Dubrovnik 15, 10 020 Zagreb – view map
Kliofest is a festival of history and historiographical productions that gathers both domestic and international historians and authors. If you are a fan of historical materials, attending historical round tables, exhibitions, quizzes, and book promotions will bring you particular joy.
Location: National and University library, Ul. Hrvatske bratske zajednice 4, 10 000 Zagreb – view map
#5 Noć knjige
Noć knjige (Book night) is a manifestation that promotes the importance of reading through programs and actions related to books and reading. Programs are held by libraries, educational, cultural, and scientific institutions, publishers, booksellers, and public and non-profit organizations.
Book night is inspired by Croatian Book Day, marked on April 22, and World Book and Copyright Day, marked on April 23.
Date: April 23
Location: Entire Croatia; find programs here
#6 Knjiga svima i svuda
Knjiga svima i svuda (A book for everyone and everywhere) is a project whose goal is to promote the availability of books at fair prices. It is a sales part of the Noć knjige. The project offers discounts at various publishers’ and bookstores’ web shops and more than 100 bookstores in Croatia.
Date: Together with Noć knjige
#7 Mediteranski festival knjige
Mediteranski festival knjige (Mediterranean book festival) is usually held at the beginning of May, but in 2022, as well in September. They prepare a plethora of literary happenings including book promotions, meeting authors, and attending workshops. It is an excellent opportunity for passionate readers to buy desired books at promotional prices.
Date: September 28 – October 2, 2022
Location: ŠC Gripe, Osječka 11, 21 000 Split – view map
#8 Sa(n)jam knjige
Sa(n)jam knjige (I dream of books) is a fair held in Istria since 1995. It offers more than 100 events, including book promotions, expert gatherings, tribunes, round tables, and exhibitions. The fair’s central theme is different every year and is the starting point of the annual program.
Date: usually in December
Location: Ex Arena Trikotaža, 52 100 Pula – view map
Vrisak festival is special by presenting brave and contemporary literature which pushes the individual’s comfort zone and encourages thinking. In 2022, Vrisak is going to be held for the 15th time.
This year, Vrisak will primarily cover the topics of climate change, ecology, literature on social networks, European poetry, and regional prose. On this occasion, V.B.Z.’s bookstores offer discounts of up to 80%.
Date: September 11 – September 18, 2022
Location: Art-kvart “Benčić”, 51 000 Rijeka – view map
#10 Zagreb Book Festival
Zagreb Book Festival is another annual book festival held in Zagreb. It is known for well-attended panel discussions covering current social topics and lectures of foreign and domestic professors, scientists, and intellectuals. They dedicate a significant part of the program to children, emphasizing the importance of reading from an early age.
As you can see, there are lots of places to find books in Croatia – even in foreign languages. However, sometimes you just need a wider selection for which you can only find abroad. Below are a few non-Croatian sites where you can get physical books shipped to Croatia.
For those looking to connect and geek with fellow book lovers, Sara Dyson – the founder of Expat in Croatia, runs a book club in Split.
There are no assignments. We simply talk about whatever it is that we’re reading. You can also bring old books to swap with others. It’s a great way to meet new friends and also learn about books and authors you otherwise would not know about.
The meetup is the second Tuesday of every month in Split. Where we meet varies depending on the weather – but we’ve grown quite fond of Park Sustipan. To join, click on the Facebook link below.
More resources about education in Croatia
- Biggest Croatian language schools in Croatia
- Education system in Croatia
- How to enroll (or transfer) your child in a Croatian school
- How to enroll kids in kindergarten (vrtić)
- How to get a library card in Croatia
- International kindergartens, elementary and primary schools in Croatia
- Most significant Croatian children’s books
- Online courses for learning the Croatian language (both free and paid)
- School shifts, explained
- How to get school books for your children
Please note: Information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. Croatian laws and bureaucratic rules often change, and each personal case is individual, so different rules may apply. For legal advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant.