Quevedo – Keeping Alive Good Reading Habits

Quevedo business cardMay 2015

Michael: What is really great about Bogotá, Colombia is that you can always find something interesting just walking the streets. I previously wrote about one of the items I found this way a complete set of auger bits

Graciela: This capital city has over eight million people in 613 square miles (1,587 km2). It is 9th in population density and among the 25 largest cities in the world.

We were extremely early for an appointment in the Chapinero barrio. The best idea seemed to walk around in search of a good, or a least interesting coffee shop. Unfortunately my husband got distracted.

Michael: By now readers know that my wife and I love books. Yes, we have a Kindle. But the feel of a good book in your hand is different. It seems as though the words have more feeling to them. And if it is an old book, even better, they have character.

Graciela: The first time we passed the shop it was on the other side of the street from us. Cars prevented a viewing of the entrance. But I did see my husband talk a long look at their sign, Quevedo Libros y Antiquedades. Returning and still a block away he spotted the large table in front filled with used books and a sign, “Mesa de Promocion” (promotion table). Even without having had his coffee there was no holding him back.

Quevedo store frontMichael: Indeed I started at the table in front. There were  books in  Spanish, English and French. And they were not the questionable authors with pathetic writing stuff you find at many used books stores on their cheap table. Many were hard covers by well-known authors.

A young man came out from the store and greeted us. He acted different than what I had become accustomed to in Colombia. Normally the store help wither ignores you acting like they don’t wish to be bothered, or they stand by glaring at you like you are getting ready to pull of a heist of their products. This person presented a aura of pride in what they offered and a sincerity to help us find books we enjoyed.

It was only later back at my house (with a number of books we purchased) that I read on their website, www.quevedolibrosyantiguedades.com their purpose. It stated they want to “keep alive the principle of good reading habits,” and to seek to satisfy ever reader’s taste enabling the continued progress in their search for knowledge.

Quevedo insideGraciela: Narrow at the front, like many places in Bogotá, the establishment went back a long way. I could see tHree rooms with all walls supporting wooden shelves laden with books. Tables scattered around held even more reading material.

I already had two books in my hand. Knowing that Michael is more likely to read something in his own language I asked if they had books in English. Employees led me to a bookcase in the second room.

Michael: I could not immediately determine a patter to the books. Most were shelved but other piled on top of them horizontally. It really did not matter. The idea was to look at each one. My finger kept my place as I ran across the titles. There were many of the classics by such authors as James Joyce, Hemingway and Steinbeck. They had a collection of books covering information about Latin America. And there was a good representation of South American authors. While I could have easily filled my arms and emptied my wallet only three books got the nod this trip. One is a Henry James that I do not remember reading previously and two from the Chilean-American author Isabel Allende.

Isabel Allende book Eva LunaThe employees, and possibly the owner, smiled and seemed very pleased that we enjoyed the shop and found things we liked. After paying a fair price we exited. I promised my wife we would come back.

In what speaks to the premium price for space in the city we ended up paying almost as much for parking as we did for the five books.

Graciela: There are other stores in Bogotá that sell used books. The biggest, La Gran Manzana, has several locations around the city. But Quevedo has a great selection, friendly people and the best prices I have encountered.

Michael: I highly recommend that you check out their website. Or even better yet, even if you are just visiting Bogotá, that you check-out their store at Carrera 11 No. 67-24. There is a good chance you will find books that you cannot get in other countries.