Porteños love their books, and there are bookstores and stalls all over the city. Two of the best known bookstore chains are El Ateneo and Cuspide Libros. The best known of El Ateneo’s locations is housed inside a former Recoleta theater at Av. Santa Fe 1860; if it’s not the largest bookstore in the world, it’s certainly one of the prettiest. El Ateneo has another large branch at the corner of Avs. Cabildo and Juramento in Belgrano. Despite the large selection, however, the English sections are still very small and limited to mostly romantic paperback novels.
If you are looking for a wider selection of English books, check out Kel Ediciones. Kel has smaller stores in the city (try the Recoleta branch at Marcelo T. de Alvear 1369), with a huge warehouse-sized store located just off the Panamericana Expressway in Martinez, right outside the city limits. In the main branch in Martinez, you can find any book, textbook, or piece of literature in English that you could possibly imagine. It’s a great resource, and worth the trip.
A small independently owned English bookstore, Walrus Books, located at Estados Unidos 617 in San Telmo, is owned by an expat from America and is a used bookstore. It’s small and intimate, but has a decent selection of books, both literary and educational.
Avenida Corrientes just west of the Obelisco is arguably Bookstore Central, where passersby dip into and out of dozens of stores to browse the discount sections. You’ll find a decent selection of classics with Spanish-English parallel-text translations, and most used bookstores will have a small foreign-language section. Outdoor book stalls are also plentiful and contain some real local gems. Among the areas where you’ll find stalls are: Parque El Centenario in Caballito, the Facultad de Medicina stop on the Subte Line D, and Av. Santa Fe along the median just north of Plaza Italia.