On Tuesday afternoon, after a lot of walking, I took refuge in a large bookstore in the Condesa neighborhood. The store had a café, so I ordered a chocolate malted, sat down and rested my legs for a while. The bookstore is part of a chain called "Fondo de Cultura Económica". It's a large and modern store, and, after I finished my malted, I spent a considerable amount of time looking at books as well as their sizeable collection of movie DVDs and music CDs. I didn't buy anything, but I had fun browsing.
I later did some research on the "Fondo de Cultura Económica". It is a non-profit, government subsidized publishing company. It was founded in 1934 with the purpose of providing books in Spanish for students at the National School of Economics. They soon expanded into publishing works in the areas of social sciences, humanities, science, literature as well as books for children and young people. Over their more than 80 years of existence they have published more than 10,000 titles. They have been the publisher for a number of famous authors of modern Mexican literature, and they have translated many foreign works into Spanish.
The bookstores they operate are of a fairly scholarly nature. You don't see displays of the latest "Top 10 Bestsellers" or paperback romance novels. Not all of the merchandise is published by their own company... obviously not the DVDs and CDs. The "Fondo de Cultura Económica" has 17 stores in Mexico City and 20 others throughout the country.
Besides the "Fondo de Cultura Económica" there are three other major bookstore chains in Mexico City... El Péndulo, Porrúa and Gandhi... and numerous smaller shops. It's nice to see that bookstores are thriving here in Mexico City.