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Avenida Corrientes Bookstores

The famous bookstores of Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires bookstores on Avenida Corrientes

Buenos Aires is no doubt one of the most literary cities on the planet. The people here know the value of a good book, whether it’s poetry, fiction, art, anthropology, self-help, or psychology (not only can you bet that most porteños have read some Freud, but there is even an area of Palermo [1] – Villa Freud – named after him).

If you wish to properly observe this social fact, you absolutely must visit the bookstores of Corrientes, the famous avenue that bristles with the action of theaters, cinemas, cafes, shops [2], and people with their noses stuck in used copies of anthologies of Argentine history or poetry.

Buenos Aires’ bookstore hotspot

Every bookstore has its own history and character, but all of them proudly display extensive collections of works by Argentine and Latin American authors and artists, as well as North American and classical European works, calendars, and CDs. Very few of them have any English language sections, although if you dig around you should find a few English offerings.

Most of the bookstores deal primarily in new books, but you’ll find some used books as well. With books scattered here, there and everywhere, presentation is not a priority – very different to more upscale bookstore chains in Buenos Aires like Boutique del Libro [3] or El Ateneo [4].

If you don’t read Spanish, it is still enjoyable to peruse the stores simply because they are unique in their atmosphere and awesome in their vast quantity of texts. You could always get a children’s book or calendar as a souvenir. Or maybe it’s about time you learned to read Spanish… after all, it’s a language that is truly rich in expressions and has hundreds of years of literary heritage.

A typical Avenida Corrientes bookstore

Here are some excellent spots for book-hunting on Corrientes. The best way to visit them is to start at the Obelisco (subway station Carlos Pellegrini, on Av. 9 de Julio) and walk up Corrientes going westward (towards Av. Callao). The places listed below go in order from east to west so you can follow them like a walking tour [5]. You could spend thirty minutes briefly poking your head into them, or an entire afternoon going through the immense selections.

Obel Libros

This modest bookstore has been in operation for about a decade and is run by a friendly middle-aged man who will be excited to practice his English with you. The special items you will find here are encyclopedias for students, books focusing on Latin American social and economic matters, and used novels.

Cuspide Libros

If you want professional guides for things such as computers, culinary arts, tourism, and hostelry (in Spanish, of course), Cuspide offers a wide range of these books. It also has the usual offerings of cheaply produced novels and non-fiction books.

Libreria Lucas

Liberia Lucas bookstore on Avenida Corrientes

At Lucas you will find a good selection of well-kept used books, which might interest collectors or book sellers. Also here are plenty of children’s books.

Libreria Hernandez

There are two Hernandez locations on Corrientes, within a few blocks of each other. A very extensive selection of books is offered, with topics such as Latin American revolutions, Che Guevara, economics, politics, Peronism, Argentine history, religion (you may notice that there are a lot of books about Judaism, a subject Argentines are fascinated by, due to the large Jewish population here), self-help, and psychology.

Are you looking for a gift?  Pick up one of the colorful cookbooks with recipes for traditional porteño favorites. You may even find a few cookbooks in English, or even one that explains methods for the traditional Argentine asado (barbeque). Also at Hernandez is a great collection of art books, with a focus on artists from Argentina and Buenos Aires [6].

Liberia Hernandez bookstore on Av Corrientes

Libreria Libertador

Don’t miss this classic Corrientes bookstore, with its unbelievably cheap classics by Spanish and Latin American authors, poetry collections, children’s books, and offerings by Shakespeare, Kahlil Gibran, Henry James, and more. The prices are low enough that you might buy books even if you can’t read Spanish.

If you are traveling around Argentina, you might also look for the nicely done travel guides published by the newspaper El Clarin. They can come in handy and are much lighter than the Lonely Planet you are probably lugging around.

Also at Libreria Libertador there are random items such as dollhouse parts and furniture, calendars with themes of Argentina and Buenos Aires, old magazines that will delight collectors, heaps of crossword puzzle books, CDs by composers such as Beethoven and Vivaldi with booklets providing information about the music, and, if you dare, a backroom full of dirty magazines and videos.

Magazines and Puzzle books also abound

Posada Libros

This enormous bookstore stretches back into a building big enough for two businesses. You’ll find the usual suspects here: cheap novels, books on the humanities (philosophy, anthropology, religion), CDs (Latin and classical music), and so on. Mainly it’s worth visiting Posada Libros just to see so many books in one place.

Between the Bookstores

Once you’ve tired of the Corrientes book-walk in the Buenos Aires City Center [7],  you most definitely deserve a break. If you get hungry, head to Pizzeria Guerrin [8] (touted as one of the best pizza restaurants [9] in Buenos Aires), or for a mid-day coffee break, to El Gato Negro [10] (a beautiful old cafe [11] and spice shop).

While you are bookstore-hopping, watch out for the plenty of artisans who set up their displays on the sidewalks of Corrientes. Also you’ll walk by some of Buenos Aires’ famous theaters – inquire there about the latest spectacles.

Location of Avenida Corrientes Bookstores

Various stops along Avenida Corrientes, between Avenida 9 de Julio & Avenida Callao, City Center

11 Comments (Open | Close)

11 Comments To "Avenida Corrientes Bookstores"

#1 Comment By exnat On July 24, 2007 @ 2:21 pm

woo hoo! rachel is back!

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#2 Comment By Alan Patrick On July 24, 2007 @ 2:24 pm

It appears that she is. And next up, she has a post about Salta 🙂

But how come I never get that kind of reaction from anyone when I write a post myself after a short absence? 🙁

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#3 Comment By rachel On July 24, 2007 @ 7:53 pm

I’m so flattered!!!

I would be writing more, but the one problem is, I don’t have a digital camera right now to work with. If I could find someone to lend me one, it would be great…

Other bad news is I’m going to the States for at least a month … so I’m not going to be writing for quite a while! Believe me I will miss BA!! =(

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#4 Comment By Karine On July 25, 2007 @ 1:38 pm

This is a fine posting that Rachel did. This is one of the best things to look for while walking on Corrientes. I mean books shopping, whether one look for a book, or just out of curiosity, entering one of those bookstores is a cool thing to do. Highly recommendable! 🙂

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#5 Comment By Coogie On July 26, 2007 @ 11:26 pm

I LOVE the book shops on Corrientes, you can spend hours in there without even noticing.

Hey, Alan, I just read your expat interview from April, it’s definately my favourite. You have a really good attitude. And your pareja-story is so damn cute, I was all ‘awww’ while reading it. Thumbs up & all the best!!

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#6 Comment By Dalton On July 29, 2007 @ 4:14 am

ajaja ahi yo compro mis crucigramas !
Hola Alan !! siempre tu blog animado y con buen material, gracias !

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#7 Comment By Mira On July 29, 2007 @ 5:53 pm

This is so descriptive, makes me feel like I am walking around the bookstore myself, with my head tilted sideways marveling at all of the choices. Maybe I’ll go there someday with you!

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#8 Comment By travelphilippines On August 13, 2007 @ 1:25 am

wow nice place lotsa lotsa books. i can live there.

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#9 Comment By Dan On August 13, 2007 @ 2:08 pm

Just back from BA, and enjoying the Tango. Can i ask that the posters who write Spanish also provide some English comment.

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#10 Comment By MARGARET On December 24, 2007 @ 11:16 am

Con respecto, I can’t imagine writing all the marvelous copy written on these bookstores, yet not providing the addresses. ???? From 9 de Julio to Callao is about, what? 8-9 blocks? If I want to hone in on one of these stores, it would be much more helpful to know where each is. Maybe the phone number, too?

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#11 Comment By Annie On June 12, 2008 @ 8:43 am

I was in BA two years ago and stumbled onto a marvelous childrens’ book store… I remember it being called el faro or el loro, or something like that. Anyone know what I’m talking about? Do you know if they have a website? I’m teaching Spanish Immersion elementary school and looking for quality children’s literature!

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