The annual Buenos Aires book fair opens its doors to the public today and runs through May 7. It’s an excellent showcase for Argentine writings though not as much of an international scene as the fair’s sponsors would like to suggest. The main English language writer at the fair is Scott Turow, author of legal thrillers.

Contrast that to the upcoming Parati Literary Festival in Brazil where the headliner is Nobel prize winner J.M. Coetzee (one of my favorites) and an author whose works are readily available in Spanish here in Buenos Aires.

Though to be fair to the Buenos Aires book fair, the Parati festival is a very different kind of event. And there are a number of Chilean and Paraquayan writers who will be presenting at the Buenos Aires book fair, an opportunity that these writers are unlikely to find elsewhere.

A good guide to the Buenos Aires book fair comes as a supplement to today’s (Thursday) Clarín.

Even without going to any of the book signings or lectures, the book fair is a fun way to spend a few hours browsing among all the books and finding something to buy. Oddly, there’s no discount on books at the fair. Again, I have to raise the question as to why books are so expensive in Buenos Aires? The costs of printing in Argentina must be lower than it is in the U.S. but the books in Buenos Aires are as expensive, and often, more expensive than in the U.S.

Well, perhaps Buenos Aires is one of the few places where book publishing is still a good and profitable business to start.

Anyway, be sure to take some time and go to the Buenos Aires book fair, buy a book, and read it.

Reading is fun. All the cool kids are doing it!