Bookshops in Buenos Aires and the smell of books

Books,Buying Books,World Books,Bookshops

Bookshops in Buenos Aires

One of the first things Andrey taught me when I arrived in Buenos Aires nearly 5 years ago, was to visit the bookshops. It is honestly an experience.

I have always loved books. My cousins would often tease me and call me a book worm. I guess I looked like oneย  because I wore glasses and my nose was always buried in a book.

My love of books and my late grandmother

My beloved grandmother had a cabinet full of books and it was always locked. She didn`t have romance or novels but educational books. I am not talking about the books you find nowadays for children. It was a series of books full of fables and legends. Some books had scientific inventions. Others had poetry. They were all written in my home language, Afrikaans. They were bound in a green leather and engraved in gold.

She always taught me to value books. First I had to wash my hands, then I had to take the book to the kitchen table and sit on the chair. I was not allowed to lick my finger when I turned the pages or write in the book. Up to this day I respect books and I would never write in a book or bend it.

I also love the smell of books. I love books period. Now to get back to my story. Back in South Africa I would often visit bookshops but it is nothing compared to the ones in Buenos Aires. Most bookshops are situated in historical buildings. The architecture is incredible.

One of the famous bookshops in Buenos Aires.
One of the famous bookshops in Buenos Aires in Calle Florida.

You don`t find a lot of English books and there is not a huge variety. So why go there you might ask? Well, some books are just ridiculously expensive like photography books. So what we would do is to take a stack of books, buy a coffee in the coffee shop and sit by the table and read until we got tired of reading. My grandmother would have been very upset if she knew we had a coffee in the bookshop!

Places to visit in Buenos Aires

Now this is what I like about the bookshops here in Argentina. Nobody kicks you out. You can sit there for the whole day and nobody will ask you to leave. I love that! When I go to the city I always visit the bookshop, have a coffee and look at the photography books.

Kindle or Book?

Recently Andrey got a Kindle and he is so happy with it. I tried it but stubbornly refused to give up my book. However, when I celebrated my birthday in Russia, I got a Russian Prology book reader. It is not a Kindle but it suits my needs perfectly. Since then I have loaded tons of English books on my reader and I am so happy I got it. I treasure my book collection but the electronic reader makes it so easy, especially in Argentina, where English books are hard to come by.

Which do you prefer……a book or an e-book reader like the Kindle?

If you want to read more about similar posts click here Buenos Aires Attractions

I have been fortunate to have done quite a bit of travelling over the last 10 years. By heart I am an adventurer and I love exploring new places, cultures and food. Travelling can become stressful and expensive. Over the years I have learnt to travel as cost effective as possible, simply by travelling more clever. is a Adventure and Budget Travel site where I review Airlines, Accommodation, Transport, Restaurants and give helpful travel information.


  1. A book you can smell and touch, turn pages in, and mark your spot with a cool bookmark. I love book stores and used to inhabit BAM all afternoon and drink coffee and read and browse. Such happy memories. I don’t own a Kindle and probably never will.

  2. For me it is always a real book where you can turn pages, feel the page and also use a book-mark. Nel, your grandmother is someone who not only loved books but also took good care of them. In spite of finding her very strict, I admire the love she had for books.

    And a book-lover like me always enjoys anything about books and experience. So, this post struck a chord.

    Joy always,

    1. Hi Susan, thank you for sharing your thoughts! Yes my grandmother loved her books and I am so happy she instilled these values in me. Glad you enjoyed the post. Have a blessed day!!!

  3. I bought Phyllis a IPAD which she loves and does do some reading but still sticks to the real thing!!! She also loves books and has soo many !!

    Love the image of the staircase !!

    1. Oh now you are talking Jim! That is the next thing on Andrey`s list…an Ipad! If I had to choose between reading a book or reading on the IPAD, I guess I would still prefer a book ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks, the building inside is really beautiful!

  4. I think those of us who learned to respect books grew to love them even more, Nelieta. As much as I love the real books, I’m starting to get addicted to my Kindle. So useful for travelling especially!

    1. I agree Corinne! For us who love books, I don`t think the Kindle will ever replace a real book but it is very handy. Hubby is addicted to his Kindle that is for sure ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I agree Roy! My husband used to read books on his phone when he commuted between home and work. He is used to it. I enjoy a book ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for sharing!

  5. I too love the smell of books. I owned an e-reader for a while but barely used it. I love books, my wife and I have so many that my new larger flat still isn’t big enough.

    1. Thank you for the visit and for sharing! LOL…I guess you will have to buy a larger flat to accommodate even more books! I would love to have a big bookshelf!

  6. I love books too! My husband and daughter have Nooks, and I have downloaded electronic versions of books on my computer because I read a lot of nonfiction and it is nice to sometimes get a book instantly and read its contents…and a lot of titles are free.. And yet, there is nothing like a book you can hold and read. Honestly, I write a lot in my books. I underline, write notes in the margins. This helps me find info when I want to pull it up later on if I’m writing a blog article. I compare a lot of the material that are in the different books I read.

    Great article ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thank you for sharing Jessica! That is the nice thing about the ebooks. They are not difficult to find. If I look at our little bookshop in town they don`t stock any English books. Imagine poor Andrey who likes to read books in Russian and he will not be able to find anything here. I don`t think it is wrong to write in a book I just find it difficult. I cannot bring myself to write in it…I feel so sorry for the book!!!! Glad you liked it and thanks again for the visit!

  7. Needless to say Nelieta I love reading ๐Ÿ™‚

    And reading your post has left a huge smile on my face as I see another fellow book lover. Books are the best companion once can ever have in life. Loved the pics a lot…such a wonderful place to be in.

    I somehow love the smell of pages in a book and the first thing I do after buying a book is open it randomly and smell it much to the disgust of people around me ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. I agree Privy! You know there is so much knowledge in books and unfortunately the young people don`t read any more. It is so sad! Oh no, I love the smell of a book! Especially a new one!!!!

  8. Oh, yes, I love everything about books, Nelieta! I even worked in several bookstores after college. And, your grandmother is a woman after my own heart – treating books with all the love and respect they deserve.
    I do have a Kindle and I love it, but there is nothing that can compare with the feel and smell of a real book . . .
    Thanks for a marvelous post and great photos!

    1. Hi Martha, that must have been wonderful to have worked in a bookshop! I can just imagine what a treat it must be for a book lover ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you so much for sharing and commenting! Have a blessed day!

  9. Oh my, I WANT that bookshop! It’s too perfect!! Ahh!!

    Ok, I apologise, I got too excited up there. I’m not a bookworm by any means, but I love, love, love books. It doesn’t matter what genre (although, I do have favourites – non-fiction, biographies, sci-fi), I just adore books and reading. Unfortunately, I don’t have much time for reading now. All I read currently is school books and other school-related projects. I do find time for some alternative literature now and then.

    I wish we had bookstores like that here. We have a couple of good stores where you can get original books for a good price, but they are always very small and closed. We do have multiple libraries and one of them is right in our building. I wish they had more books I liked, I’d be there all the time.

    Anyway, I think I am elaborating way too much. I just love reading, really! And your post, too. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Hi, no need to apologize ๐Ÿ™‚ It is nice to see when people are passionate about books! Young people don`t read any more and I am so happy to hear that you love books! That is normally the problem with smaller bookshops. They don`t stock a variety and sometimes it is very difficult to get hold of a good book. Thanks again for your visit, lovely comment and for sharing your love of books ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. You’re welcome, but I gracefully disagree with the first statement you made. Young people do read. I’m not talking about uneducated kids, I’m talking about those that actually aim and achieve something in their life, and don’t just care about their fashion and “swag”. Anyway, I agree, that’s why I prefer libraries! ๐Ÿ™‚

      2. I am glad to hear that young people in your country read books. Unfortunately the vast majority of young people that I see here in Argentina and in South Africa prefer to use their cellphones and computers and don`t read. My youngest daughter is a good example. She never picks up a book to read and she also cannot spell. Maybe she will change in time and grow to love books but I doubt it ๐Ÿ™

Thank you for visiting. Have a fabulous day!

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