If you’re the bookish type, you’re probably looking for books in English in Buenos Aires. You’re in luck: there are many franchises and independent bookstores that have an English language section. These are the bookstores that will get you reading!
By Carla Chinski, Content Marketing Director at Vamos Academy
A Few Tips for Book shopping
When book shopping, you shouldn’t get discouraged if you don’t find what you’re looking for at first. Also, keep in mind that e-commerce sites such as Mercadolibre and Facebook Marketplace can be a great place to find specific books, and many commercial and independent bookstores choose these platforms to display the books in stock.
Tip number one: It’s true that us Argentines like to bargain for a good deal. However, don’t try to bargain at a bookstore–unless you’re buying a lot of books at once at an independent bookstore, in which case bargaining might work. There might also be a discount if you pay in cash, so ask about that.
Tip number two: When looking for used books especially, be patient; you might not find the perfect title at first. If you keep at it, you could be rewarded. Who knows? You might find something else you weren’t expecting. Also, it’s a good idea to ask the bookkeeper. Though most of the salespeople at bookstore chains are not that knowledgeable, you’ll have a bit more luck asking a salesperson at an indie shop; they’ll be happy to recommend a good book!
Tip number three: Lots of bookstores in Avenida Corrientes have English language sections. Just ask the salesperson, because they’re probably at the back (unfortunately). Books in English might not be these bookstore’s specialty, but you never know.
Also read: What to do in Avenida Corrientes
Independent Bookshops in English
The gist of it: What isn’t appealing about Walrus books? From the name to the shop front and the lovely atmosphere inside, Walrus is one of the most well-known in Buenos Aires for its quality books and fair prices. In the bookstore itself, you can find all the books you can think of clearly divided into sections: poetry, drama, history, fiction, nonfiction, criticism–even film books!
Not all of their books are used, though: some are new, and those books are marked with a “new” stamp on the first page. You can also contact Walrus Books via Facebook (we’ve left their social media below) and ask them to keep a book for you for a week, and you can go pick it up at their store. You can pay in cash, debit or credit. All of the salespeople are bilingual. Bask in the great music, the relaxing scent and, of course, the wonderful selection of books.
The verdict: Walrus is a personal favorite, because of its reliability and variety. A must-see if you’re looking for more niche titles.
Address: Estados Unidos 617
Opening hours: All week, 12 to 5 PM. Mondays closed
The gist of it: The Bookcellar & Hendschel is a hidden bookstore in an unassuming building in Microcentro: one of those constructions of old, including a charming rickety elevator. It was founded by Daniel Zachariah, an expat himself. The bookstore is officially asociated to the “Librerías Antiquarias” (Antique Bookstores). That means that most of their books are used, but not only that: there might be some antique gems awaiting!
Their prices are very affordable, so look out for that if you’re on a budget. The Bookcellar is very active on their social media accounts, as they post new titles regularly, and you can also make reservations on their facebook page or by phone.
The verdict: Take some time if you’re in Microcentro to visit this bookstore, as you’ll have to go hunting for the books you want to get. They also sell books in French, German and Spanish, among other languages.
Address: Reconquista 533
Opening hours: 11 AM to 3 PM. Closed on weekends.
The gist of it: Estari libros is a commercial bookstore that specializes in books in English. They usually take part in the Feria del Libro–an international, yearly book fair in Buenos Aires–but they also have their own shop and online platform. They feature special offers and discounts for wholesale buyers.
The verdict: Estari is a very good place to get new books if you’re planning on gifting or reading something more popular or by big publishers, and a great alternative to Kel Ediciones.
Address: Viamonte 2052
Opening hours: All weekdays from 9 AM to 6PM. Sundays closed.
Bookshops with English Sections
These bookstores don’t have an English section exclusively, but they do provide plenty of titles to choose from.
Entre Libros Bookstore
The gist of it: Of all the used bookstores on this list, Entre Libros is the most hidden if you don’t know where to look. It’s located in a typical Buenos Aires “galería”; you have to enter and you’ll find Entre Libros, an unassuming and extremely small bookstore. No, really, you can barely navigate the aisles of seemingly endless bookshelves.
Here, you’ll find more niche academic titles, lots of poetry and mass market paperbacks. Keep in mind that Entre Libros is kind of pricey.
The verdict: Visiting entre libros can be a good idea in itself. Some of their books are definitely worth it, as you won’t be able to find them anywhere else.
Address: Shop number 7 Galería Americana, Av. Santa Fe 2450
Opening hours: Tuesdays through Fridays 11 AM to 4 PM. Closed on Weekends and Mondays.
The gist of it: Aristipo is a Villa Crespo neighborhood staple for used books. Not only do they have an English section; they also offer books in Portuguese, French and German (but mostly in English). Their selection of books is curated by Patricio Rago, a librarian like those from days of old who really know about what they’re selling and why; a real book philosopher (just like the character Aristipo, himself!) Striking up a conversation about books with him is really easy, and the bookseller will know just what you’re looking for–even if you don’t.
A good thing about Aristipo is that, if you’re lucky, you might well find books in English translated from the Spanish. They’re also very active on social media, and most of their posts include at least one book in English, always of irrefutable quality.
The verdict: We can assure you that you’ll be coming back to Aristipo to get more books, be it for poetry, nonfiction or fiction titles.
Address: Avenida Scalabrini Ortiz 605
Opening hours: Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays 4 PM to 7:30 PM. Tuesdays 11 to 2 PM. Closed Weekends.
The gist of it: Near Corrientes and 9 de Julio avenues, Kafka Books is always packed, because of its location but also because of its quality. Books at this bookstore tend to be messily stacked, one on top of the other and even in multiple files, so get ready to do a deep scan.
Most of the books are mass-market paperbacks, but they do offer a hardcover-only section on one side. You’re likely to find rare books, like bible translations, books by experimental authors, or poetry anthologies. If you’re looking for books in Avenida Corrientes, Kafka is a must.
The verdict: Kafka books is famed for its book curation, and the English section is no exception.
Address: Avenida Corrientes 1117
Opening hours: Mondays to Thursdays 11 PM to 8 PM; Fri-Sat 10 AM to 12 AM
Bonus: Small But Powerful English Selection
El Banquete Books
The gist of it: Named after a Plato dialogue, El Banquete is located in Belgrano and has a small but powerful selection of books in English. We’ve found niche and commercial authors–they were always used copies–at very fair prices. Ever since they moved from a bigger store located in Avenida Cabildo to a smaller one in Céspedes street, the selection has gotten smaller, but it’s still worth it. They also have a selection of dictionaries, books in French and, of course, Spanish, in very good condition.
Address: Céspedes 2377
Opening hours: Mon-Fri from 11 AM to 6 PM. Closed on weekends.
Viamonte 1515, Buenos Aires, Argentina