Umberto Eco’s fictional anecdote in The Name of the Rose about finding an obscure volume in a bookstore in Buenos Aires is actually quite plausible: used book shops and open-air book markets are a trademark of the city’s culture. The one in Parque Rivadavia is amongst the oldest and largest, and also quite off the beaten tourist track.
Open since 1953, this large book market sells and trades used and new books, records, and comics. Patient browsing of their usually dusty boxes can yield both bestsellers and lost gems, rarities, and antiques.
Since every metal kiosk is operated by a different independent bookseller, you can hardly ever find them all open at the same time. Also, booksellers have very different criteria and profiles, and usually specialize in some specific kind of titles: there’s the kiosk that sells mostly titles in languages other than Spanish, the one that sells a lot of humanities and philosophy, the one that sells schoolbooks, the one that trades comic books, the one that sells only old rarities. There are many shelves on which you can guess the bookseller’s personal taste, or even vintage records and some video games.
This also makes every trip to Parque Rivadavia Book Market a unique experience. Bear in mind that, although you can find some books in languages other than Spanish, this market caters mostly to local readers.
Know Before You Go
The kiosks are usually set on the westernmost side of the park, but can be occasionally moved whenever there are restoration or road works.
You can get here by taking Subte (subway) line A, it's a few steps away from Acoyte station.