Despite Kindle and e-books, travelers still like to possess and read hardcovers and paperbacks—and printed travel guides, in particular, are regarded as essential for many tourists. For those going to Quito, Ecuador, either for a long or short visit, Culture Trip provides a list of the best English-language bookstores in town, going from used to fresh-from-the-printing press new.
Founded in 1994, Confederate Books is the oldest used English bookstore in Ecuador. The website EntityMag put it on its list of “13 bookstores to visit on your world tour,” right up there with the best bookstores in London and Moscow. The current owners, Justin and Helen Trullinger, manage the store with a little help from their adorable five-year-old daughter, Megan-Shahena. They stock and sell every genre, can answer many questions not only about authors but also about Ecuador itself, and Justin always has a pot of hot coffee available for customers. Plus, if you bring along your guitar, Justin will reach for his and jam with you.
Confederate Books, Río Amazonas 24-155, Quito, Ecuador, +593 2-252-7890
The English Bookshop
The English Bookshop, on Calama and Diego y Almagro, not only sells secondhand books but also rents them out at a small price. Although the interior is modest, it serves as a popular conversational hangout for travelers, expatriates, and English-speaking locals, with proprietor Mark Andrew Halton always ready to brew authentic English tea. Clean and well-organized, it has a particularly useful selection of travel literature.
Located on the second floor of the Quicentro shopping mall on Avenida Naciones Unidas, Libri Mundi is one of the largest distributors of new books in Ecuador. They have almost an entire wall devoted to English-language books, where you can purchase the newest authors and latest bestsellers. Many like to buy a piece of literature at Libri Mundi and then head over to one of Quicentro’s many cafés and restaurants to sit and read.
Like Libri Mundi, Mr. Books is also located in a shopping mall: the Mal El Jardin on Avenida Amazonas and Avenida de la Republica. It also dedicates a considerable amount of shelf space to new hardcover and paperback English-language books.
Mr. Books, Av de la Republica, Quito, Ecuador, +593 2-298-0277
The Casa de la Cultura
Travelers with more specific interests in literature when it comes to Ecuador can also stop by the bookstore on the campus of the Casa de la Cultura. Quito’s municipal civic culture center, they offer books in English on subjects such as Ecuadorian art, architecture, and literature.
The campus bookstore at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador
Situated on 12 de Octubre and Ignacio de Veintimilla, a short walk from the Casa de la Cultura, this bookstore has a number of English-language books. While it specializes in mostly academic reads, there are also some such as the short story anthology by Ecuadorian author Fanny Carrión, The Golden Ear of Corn and Other Stories. In this particular work, the original Spanish text is to the left, and the English translation is to the right, which provides an excellent way to improve one’s Spanish.