Looking for something to read? Try a visit to the Book Fair (Feria Internacional Del Libro) in the Antigua Aduana (Old Customs) building between now and September 2.
Publishers and book dealers from Costa Rica and all of Latin America, more than sixty, have books on display. The fair is free and most sellers offer discounts.
There are books for everyone, even a selection in English from the major bookstores; Lehmann, Universal, Internacional and Max. There are histories and biographies from the university publishers, bibles and bible stories from religious publishers, technical and electronic books, novels and art books. Electronic books too.
Local authors are there to show their work and to sign their books. Many are easy-to-read Spanish about myths and beliefs, folk tales or life in the country in bygone years and tico food recipes. Several museums are there with books on natural science or history.
And it’s not just books. There are also programs throughout the days; presentation of new books and authors, storytelling, theater, workshops for writers and educational games and toys for kids, parents and teachers. There are musical programs and sometimes a surprise action, a mini theater or marianettes. And there are blocks of seating for browsing or resting. Most stands have free bookmarks to promote their books and you can build up a collection of bookmarks to last until next year’s fair.
UNED, the National University at a Distance, has one of the more popular booths with books by and about Costa Ricans on history, social studies, and the environment, plus studies for working with children and the books are reasonably priced.
There are used books too for real bargains in the annex behind the Aduana building, and a food court for taking a break.
This is the 19th year that the Camara Nacional de Libros has sponsored the Book Fair. “Books are just as popular as ever,” said a spokesperson for the Camara. Even readers who have electronic devices “like to have a book in their hands.” Book sales are as strong as ever. Last year’s fair drew 73,000 book fans.
The Antiqua Aduana building is on Calle 23, Avenidas 7-9. The fair is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
And it’s free.
There is street and parking lot parking. Train service is available from Monday to Friday, public bus service every day. See Facebook page for map and bus routes.