08 Mar

By The Culture Vulture

Thursday, March 7, 2024 

I first came across the idea of the “book exchange” several years ago.

The idea is you deposit a book and take one away. No money is involved. It’s a great way to recycle books, instead of them ending up in landfill.  


The first place I saw this was a good ten years ago in Pforzheim (Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany). A disused Telefonzelle (telephone box) had been converted into a book swap site.

Ideal. A prominent location on a pedestrian only shopping street and protected from the weather. It worked on an honesty basis – the Germans are particularly honest (except for the b**tard who nicked my wallet in 2022 and the other a***hole who helped himself to my laptop on a train in 2023).

I’ve since seen such book swaps in other parts of Germany; in Detmold (North Rhine Westfalia), Dresden (Saxony), Heilbronn (B-W), Jülich (NRW), Lübeck (Schleswig-Holstein) and Uetersen (S-H).    

Intercambio de libros

Recently I have become aware of a few around the Ronda area and beyond.

In Barrio San Francisco there is one sponsored by the A.VV. (Asociacion de Vecinos) outside Bar Ambigú next door to the CEPSA petrol station.

The books are located in a glass cabinet in the porch, so you can access the books when the bar is closed.    

Three days ago I discovered another by chance in a bazar in Montejaque (Málaga), Complementos Vero.

This one has only just started up, yet has already received lots of donations of books in Spanish.

I’ve already benefited by acquiring a copy of La Casa de Bernarda Alba by my favourite Spanish playwright, Federico García Lorca, murdered in 1936 at the start of the Spanish Civil War on General Franco’s orders. 

I also got a book of poetry by Sevilla-born poet Antonio Machado.    

Yesterday I acquired a super book about Málaga City, full of great photos, in exchange for a hardback novel in English by John Grisham

That was inside Super Chisma, a supermarket on the polígono industrial in Ronda.

I believe there are also book exchanges in Cortes de la Frontera (Málaga), Gaucín (Málaga), and Ubrique (Cádiz), three of the bigger towns around here.

There may be more. Please let us know, via the comments section.

© The Culture Vulture 


All photos by Paul Whitelock except:

main photo (Facebook) 

telephone box (Wikipedia) 


Antonio Machado, A.VV., Asociación de Vecinos), Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bar Ambigú, Barrio San Francisco, Cádiz, CEPSA, Complementos Vero, Cortes de la Frontera, Culture Vulture, Detmold, Dresden, Federico García Lorca, Gaucín, General Franco, Heilbronn, John Grisham, Jülich, La Casa de Bernarda Alba, Lübeck, Málaga, Montejaque, NRW, North Rhine Westfalia, Pablo de Ronda, Paul Whitelock, Pforzheim, Ronda, Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein, Sevilla, Spanish Civil War,  Super Chisma, Ubrique, Uetersen

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