Fundação Casa de Jorge Amado
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.
Largo do Pelourinho 51, Pelourinho, Salvador, Brazil, +55 71 3321 0070
Porto dos Livros
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.
Avenida Sete de Setembro 3564, Barra, Salvador, Brazil, +55 71 3015 0093
Sebo Brandão Bahia
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.
Rua Ruy Barbosa 15, Centro, Salvador, Brazil, +55 71 3242 3721
Sebo São José
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.
Rua Chile 22, Centro, Salvador, Brazil, +55 71 3015 0130
Boto Cor de Rosa
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.
Rua Marquês de Caravelas 328, Barra, Salvador, Brazil, +55 71 3018 0006
Livraria 3º Milênio
The Bookstore of the Third Millennium is on a mission to “connect those who are awakened and being awakened”. As well as selling books on spiritualism, healing, self-help and philosophy, the store hosts talks, offers consultations and runs meditation and yoga sessions.
Ria Macaúbas 28, Rio Vermelho, Salvador, Brazil, +55 71 3240 4444
Livraria Assembléia de Deus
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.
Rua Lima e Silva 235, Liberdade, Salvador, Brazil, +55 71 3242 1068