The Best Independent Bookstores in Salvador

Browsing the bookshelves I © StockSnap/Pixabay
Browsing the bookshelves I © StockSnap/Pixabay
Photo of Georgia Grimond
14 June 2017

Salvador, birthplace and home of Brazilian novelist Jorge Amado, has a whole host of independent bookstores that lend themselves to a good browse. If you are looking to learn a little Portuguese, find out more about the city or get lost in seductive stories, then check out these top addresses.

Fundação Casa de Jorge Amado

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Bust of writer Jorge Amado
Bust of writer Jorge Amado | © Mateus Pereira/Secom/WikiCommons
The foundation set up in memory of one of Brazil’s best writers, Jorge Amado, is a good place to start shopping. Not only will you find the back catalogue of his books and those of his wife Zélia Gattai, but the museum gives an explanation of Amado’s best-known works and other information about his life and career. It runs a book donation service if you are looking to lessen your load.

Porto dos Livros

Bookstore, Shop
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The quirky bookstore Porto dos Livros in the Barra neighbourhood bills itself as a cultural space. Selling both new and second-hand books, it also deals in CDs, DVDs and vinyl, as well as hosting book launches, musical events and poetry readings. There is a reading and study space as well as a café within the shop for those after some peace and quiet or a cup of coffee.

Sebo Brandão Bahia

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Second-hand books, Salvador
Second-hand books, Salvador | © dr_tr/Flickr
Sebo Brandão Bahia is an institution among Salvador’s bookstores. Having been going since 1969, it has over 500,000 works of literature in multiple languages under its roof. Books go from R$10 to closer to tens of thousands for the rarer examples. The bookstore is a family-run enterprise with father Eurico Brandão, in his eighties and still passionate about his job, claiming he has “a notion of almost everything” after a lifetime spent working with books.

Sebo São José

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Nearby on Rua Chile is another sebo –the word refers to the sweat and grease that books pick up in the hands of their readers. São José is a relatively new kid on the block, but the owner has had a long career with books and has built up a specialist collection which he sells from the store’s neatly ordered shelves.

Boto Cor de Rosa

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The Pink Dolphin – a reference to Brazilian folklore – is a popular and much-loved independent bookstore in Barra. It steers clear of selling the commercial bestsellers and instead has a particularly good range of local and Brazilian literature, among others. There are often events, such as talks and book launches, and a number of the staff speak excellent English.

Livraria Assembléia de Deus

Bookstore, Store
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This bookstore sells religious titles, particularly related to evangelical Christianity. Though it is well stocked, it is possible to request absent or soon-to-be-published books to be delivered to the store. The store is in a densely populated area called Liberdade and is best reached by taxi.

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