I like love reading. I mean, it’s now part of my “Brand™” after winning PBS’ “Great American Read” and having boxes of 100 books shipped to my house. Easier to accomplish than shipping them overseas. So while abroad I’ve had to figure out how to accomplish my whole reading thing while in Italy.

Have you heard of Overdrive? If not, “Bing-it” and get it. It’s basically a way for you to read thousands of books completely free and all you need is a library card. I use it while abroad! It works exactly the same, and because I have a library card to both my home library and Fairfield’s Public Library, I have double the options when it comes to “Things to Keep Me Busy While Traveling.” Lots of hours to fill while waiting for various forms of transportation in different European locations.

But, I don’t love reading on a screen. I make do, because it’s the easiest and most lightweight possibility. I just download six books on my computer and I’m good to go.

Especially because I completely blow through books. Meaning, if given a 300 or so page book, it’d only take me about an hour or so to get beginning to end. But, my super cool, not lame at all, powers have limitations.

Screens. Can’t do it. I get way too distracted. This has led me to discover quite a few cute book shops in Florence that I’m going to share with you all. So my future study abroad friends looking for a spot to buy books, or just content for their Study Blogs listen up!

First off, there’s Feltrinelli. Think Barnes and Noble, but in Italy, and yeah… that’s it. It’s basically just Barnes and Noble. They’re a chain too, so you’ll see them all over Florence. I bought my friend’s mom a cute book here when she came to visit. They’ve got stationary and cards and basically again anything you’d find at a Barnes and Noble.

But, we’ve got to remember that we’re in a country whose first language is not English, and thus most of the books at Feltrinelli are in Italian. They do have a decent size English book section, with the super popular classics and some newer novels, but it is just a section.

Plus, most of my money spent abroad is being spent on trips or just grocery shopping. Not a lot of European pennies left to rub together for a full priced book that I’m going to have to lug home. Thus we’re on to option two!

Paperback Exchange is my favorite Florence bookstore. Even if I wasn’t telling you about this you’d definitely hear about it in Florence as all of the professors have you get the required reading material here. Though small, only about as big as any cute family owned bookstore on any Main Street, U.S.A., all the books are in English.

There’s also quite a wide variety. Though I’m more of a fiction fanatic, there’s an entire room dedicated just to non-fiction business. From religion to psychology to some ridiculously expensive coffee table books, there’s a bit of everything.

Plus, they’re cheaper than Feltrinelli. This is where the “Exchange” part of their name comes in. As you can exchange your books for store credit, or they’ll buy back old books. Meaning that they have a selection of gently used, cheaper books for customers.

Now I’ll be honest, I’ve done one exchange here before and they did not give me as much store credit as I think I deserved. As if we’re using the word “Gently Used” here, my book was incredibly, incredibly gently used. It was as if I were wearing those art collector gloves every time I read it, and they only gave me two dollars back!

But, whatever, I get that they have to make money back, and this place is seriously cute.

So, now you know not only where to grab a book, but look back a couple of articles and you know the perfect coffee chops on where to curl up and read. It hasn’t stopped raining here in Florence for the past couple weeks, so I’m going to read this article over again to see where I can go find a new book. Maybe just Overdrive, I really hate getting wet and I don’t want to slip on the cobblestones again. Yay, study abroad injuries!


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