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As would be expected for a metropolis of its size, Santiago has enough decent bookstores to keep the budding bookworm happy. Although Chileans may not read as much as their Argentine neighbors, there is no shortage of places to find a new novel in the city. The downside, however, is that most only stock Spanish literature. But that’s not necessarily such a bad thing, because reading is one of the best ways to take those rusty language skills to the next level.
Great for the English speaking expat, Librería Antártica is one of the few stores in the city that stocks a respectable range of English language literature. Their selection isn’t huge, but Antártica’s friendly staff are more than willing to show what’s on offer and make a few recommendations. It also stocks a nice variety of high quality stationery and gifts.
Grupo Eductavio Inglesa primarily concern themselves with teaching English as a foreign language to locals. They have several stores around the city that stock all the latest English teaching resources, perfect for the Santiago expat who fancies tutoring a few classes for some extra cash. Some English language literature is available as well, but variety is limited so inquire first before paying a visit.
Another great option for those looking to escape the bustle of downtown Santiago. Café Literario Mosqueto is just a few blocks from the main plaza in the city center making it the perfect respite for a sightseer with sore feet. This cozy little literature café serves quality breakfast, lunch and tea, great coffee, and offers a decent selection of things to read as well.
Having trouble finding something in English? Bigger backpacker hostels around the city often have book exchanges which are open to non-guests as well. Call ahead to ask if they have an exchange available and bring a book or two to swap for something new. Of course, selection will be limited to backpacker favorites like Eat Prey Love, Shantaram and The Gringo Trail, but that’s gotta be better than nothing, right?
Unfortunately, those living in Santiago who yearn to read in English are pretty much forced to go online to find what they want. At least Amazon and Book Depository deliver to Chile, meaning virtually everything imaginable is available at the click of a button (plus a week or so waiting time). If reading in English is essential, Santiago is a very good place to invest in a Kindle.