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Has pluri-lingual traveling turned your Anglo mind to sludge? Thinking of cheaply nursing your neurons back to English reading form? Well, just a few streets away from the Duomo’s tourist circus in Florence is a little piece of paradise disguised as a bookshop called The Paperback Exchange.
Florence’s English-language bookstore
Located at Vialle delle Oche 4R, this little shop of treasures has been pushing books to Florence’s Anglo community since 1979 and some of their prices haven’t changed since! They carry a large selection of new and (not so) used books which enable paperback pick-ups for as little as 3 euros. They’ve got everything from travel to textbooks to poetry in a clean, cozy interior where Ikea meets the “New Hampshire cottage” feel. The staff is friendly, helpful and willing to special-order any books not found on their shelves. (This is a fast and convenient “no-access-to-Amazon” arrangement convenient when traveling or living under a bridge. Ahem.)
The Paperback Exchange lets you trade in your used books for credit towards purchases, which will chop down the cost even more! (My cheapo sense has just exploded from the double savings!)
But best of all, the store is reader-friendly, meaning you can peruse, sit and read before leaving with your golden nugget find. It’s also a good place to meet travelers or members of the local English-speaking community.
The Paperback Exchange is open on weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and from 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays.
Florence’s free English-language newspaper
Make sure to also pick up a copy of “The Florentine” while you’re at the bookstore. “The Florentine” is Florence’s free bi-weekly English newspaper which is loaded with news, sports, travel, and cultural events going on in the city.
Finally, check the store’s bulletin board for all things Anglo-related. It’s a mini carousel of information for courses, services, and social groups.
Other bookstores in Florence
Other bookstores scattered in the downtown core include Feltrinelli and Mel Bookstore on the nearby via Cerretani. They carry mostly Italian titles and don’t sell secondhand books, but their international sections are peppered with pretty good stuff.