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Booklovers’ Heaven

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Avid readers who enjoy spending an afternoon among piles of books to find one that is out of print. Collectors looking for treasures just for them. Researchers looking for hard-to-find references. Prospective parents looking for the nth book on child care, because they want to be ready. Students with endless reading lists. Collectors of old travel books, with pictures of places that are unrecognizable today, and detailed descriptions. Booksellers weaving their way through customers, climbing stairs and deftly avoiding wooden stools amid overflowing shelves and books stacked up on any free piece of floor. Second-hand bookstores are a world unto themselves, a continuous coming and going of people of all ages, social classes and interests.

If you can pick out the smell of paper and ink from a thousand aromas, if you find it comforting to plonk yourself down in an armchair and read at the end of the day, if you enjoy both the hunt and the capture of your new book, stroll along Calle Donceles in Mexico City’s Historic Center.

There you will find large bookstores such as Regia and Porrúa (set in the Colegio Nacional) and libraries with thought-provoking names such as El Tomo Suelto (The Loose Volume)El Mercader de Libros (The Merchant of Books), Bibliofilia, Hermanos de la Hoja (Sheet Brothers)El Laberinto (The Labyrinth), Rayuela (Hopscotch) and Inframundo (The Underworld). The mansion that inspired Carlos Fuentes’ novel Aura, houses La Última y Nos Vamos and La Casona de Aura, specializing in antiquarians’ books. If that is what you’re after, make sure you visit Librería Madero on the street of the same name, the Mecca of old books.

Nearby, on Filomeno Mata street, you’ll find La Torre de Papel, a delightful little bookshop specializing in miniature books. It’s a real treat. A second-hand book market is set up every day in callejón de Condesa to tempt passers-by.

Did you know that 10% of all the books sold in the country are sold in Mexico City’s Historic Center? This fascinating article by the Historic Center Trust tells you all about this.

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Donceles #12, Col. Centro. 06000

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