A Spring of Books in Santiago, Chile / Sócrates Silva

Earlier this Fall I traveled to Santiago, Chile and attended the Primavera del Libro (it is their Spring), a book fair dedicated to independent publishers which took place October 6-11, 2015 in Parque Bustamante. I was one of about 15 librarians attending the fair from the United States and Europe primarily comprising of SALALM (Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials) members (http://salalm.org/ ). There were 112 independent publishers present and while many of their holdings comprised of belles-lettres titles, readers of this blog might be interested in the catalog of publishers such as Ediciones ARQ (www.edicionesarq.cl ) which publishes an architectural journal as well as monographs. Sa Cabana Editorial (https://www.linkedin.com/company/stoq-editorial ) is another architectural publisher which like many of the publishers at the fair had only a handful of titles in their catalog and limited distribution of their quality publications found in American Libraries. LOM Ediciones (http://www.lom.cl/ ), one of the most established publishers at the fair has a broader catalog including photography titles and graphic novels engaged in political themes. In addition there were zines, comics, and other art titles available at the fair.

Fair Grounds: Primavera del Libro in Parque Bustamante. Photo courtesy of Marisol Ramos, University of Connecticut
Primavera del Libro in Parque Bustamante. Photo courtesy of Marisol Ramos, University of Connecticut

SALALM colleagues take various approaches to purchasing titles while in Latin America. These are often dependent on institutional limitations and permissions. While some have purchase cards and cash and are able to purchase titles on the spot, others prepare wish lists and work with established vendors to acquire titles. Whatever approach we take the conversations we have with publishers and the time we spend dedicated to learning about this sprawling and complex publishing industry continuously in flux influences collection development throughout the year and beyond the days at any one fair.

In the days following the fair I visited two bookstores with extensive art and architecture titles. Metales Pesados (http://metalespesados.cl ) in Barrio Bellas Artes is a wonderful bookstore and also a publisher of titles on aesthetics and philosophy. If you ask the bookstore manager nicely he will let you use the wi-fi to check holdings in your library catalog. The bookstore is just a few blocks away from the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (www.mnba.cl ) (which you can enter for free) and is a focal point in the neighborhood. The nearby Barrio Bellavista has a lot of contemporary mural and graffiti art and you can spend a very fruitful and enjoyable day with this short itinerary. There is also a small chain of independent bookstores, Contrapunto (http://contrapunto.cl ) and each store is designed by a local architectural firm. You can find architectural books and magazines at the Librería Drugstore branch on Avenida Providencia (the store was designed by Juan Carlos Sabbagh), near the Los Leones metro stop. This bookstore also has the virtue of being close to Baco Restaurant (http://www.yelp.com/biz/baco-santiago ), which has a wonderful bistro menu accompanied by an excellent wine list at very reasonable prices. Santiago is a very manageable city with an efficient Metro system and if you find yourself there you will be surrounded by the majesty and beauty of the Andes.

Metales Pesados in Barrio Bellas Artes
Metales Pesados in Barrio Bellas Artes

Sócrates Silva, 2CUL Latin American & Iberian Studies Librarian (Columbia University/Cornell University) ss5000@columbia.edu

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