If you’re an avid reader or a newcomer to Bogotá, you’ll be happy to learn that the city is rich in bookstores, many of which offer a wide selection of books in English. Whether you’re a native English speaker looking for some pleasure reading material, an English learner who wants to improve reading comprehension, or a short term visitor looking for bookish events and friends, you’ll find plenty of options to buy English titles of all genres and bestseller lists.
Librería Merlín is perhaps one of the most eclectic store on this list, if you know what you’re looking for. Its location is discreet (a small side street known as the Bookseller Alley close to Museo del Oro, in the center of the city), but its selection is staggering. Not only does it have two enormous shelves of used English books, it also features titles in French, German, Italian and Portuguese. And, of course, books in Spanish on every conceivable topic, from philosophy to literature and business administration. The store sprawls over three stories of an old house, and there are dozens of other, smaller, book stands nearby.
Cra. 8 No.15-70.
Books & Books Bogotá, located in the Cedritos area, is a good place to go for easy-reading and educational books in English. They also have some textbooks in stock. Although an avid English reader might not find much new material there, Books & Books still has a fair selection of children’s books and classics.
Calle 140 No.18-05
Tornamesa was established in 2010. Its owners decided to open a store that offered what they “most like to do: read, listen to music, watch movies and good wine.” It has a fair-sized English section, as well as office supplies and notebooks featuring well-known authors. They also organize events such as concerts and screenings of operas, and they sell vinyl records on the second floor. And, of course, wine. Tornamesa has two locations, one in the Avenida Chile Mall (Calle 72 No.10-34 Local 236) and another in Rosales (Calle 70 No.5-23).
Wilborada 1047, so-called because of its address (Calle 71 No.10-47), opens at 10:47 each morning and has a decent stock of English books, as well as a cozy café and plenty of events year-round, such as a literary costume contest on Halloween, tastings with literary themes, talks and book signings from an array of authors. They’re very welcoming to foreigners, as this ex-pat can attest.
Luvina, a bookstore in the Macarena area, near Museo Nacional and Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá, is well known for its author visits and events. The place is that near-perfect creation: a bookstore you don’t even need to leave to get food. It has a small café above the main floor, serving breakfast and lunch most weekdays and Saturdays, as well as snacks and drinks during the day. The store, though mainly Spanish literature, sells English books in a wide variety of genres. In the words of owner Carlos Luis Torres, “books and a snack – what could be better?”
Bookworm Bookstores, both located in the Chapinero area, these tiny bookstores offer exclusively books in English with an impressive selection. Though both spaces are small, the shelves manage to carry books from children’s to bestsellers, literary award winners to comics. Owner Adriana Rojas believes in the importance of the relationship between booksellers and readers, and will deliver any title requested. Bookworm shares the space with Doméstica, a café that serves light lunches and tasty snacks so you can shop and munch on pastries all day long.
Cra. 6 No.56-35 / Calle 67 No.7-38.
Libreria Lerner, with two locations, one near Parque 93 and the other on Avenida Jiménez, in the Centro of Bogotá, has become an institution. It first opened its doors in 1958 specializing in academic textbooks and books on law. From concerts, book signings, workshops, courses and conferences, the Calle 93 location is Lerner’s flagship store and a cultural reference for the north of the city. Lerner offers books of all genres, including an interesting selection of English titles. An Amor Perfecto cafá kiosk serves the perfect brew of Colombia’s Arabica bean.
Do you have a favorite bookstore that’s not on this list? Let us know!