With the annual Feria de Libros, or Book Fair, going on in Corferias, I took a tour of some of the traditional book stores and other book venues in central Bogotá, where books are sold on streets, on street tables and on sidewalks.
The many bookstores are a surprise in a nation not known for reading. And their existence is sort of inspiring. That someone in Colombia’s still willing to shell out money to read Voltaire and Sinclair Lewis and Upton Sinclair instead of spending time in front of the television suggests there’s still hope.
Unlike the book fair, you can enter these places for free, and the books are sure to be lots cheaper. And, while book festivals, with their literature and highbrow talks are great, I kind of wonder how many people attend for the literature and how many to see and be seen. I recall standing in a long line for a book fair in another country and observing that none of the other people in line were using their waiting time to read. Does that say anything?