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The bookstore from the inside: La Moraleja

The bookstore from the inside: La Moraleja

La Moraleja: a legacy of love for literature and other cultural activities.

Text by Samantha G. Núñez

La Moraleja is an independent bookstore located in La Roma, Mexico City. Between word games, the idea of creating a comfortable and attractive space for any reader came up. Like any business, La Moraleja was affected by the pandemic. Nevertheless, they managed to reinvent their concept and offer the traditional literary experience by combining it with the cultural project of Cine Tonalá, thus creating unique and exclusive bookstore workshops that help to incorporate readers.

First of all, I am interested in knowing a little about you, could you share the origin story of La Moraleja, where does the name that is inherent to the knowledge acquired with any book come from?

The name of the bookstore is a play on words that reminds us of the founder of the bookstore; Alejandra Mora (since this space was Aleja’s abode: La Moraleja). She founded in the 90’s this space that was a mix between a bookstore and an antique store. Sadly Ale passed away 4 years ago and for a long period, the place was closed until her daughter Marcela Lugo, along with her partners Gina Jaramillo and Guillermina Fabre, came up with the idea of reopening the space but now focused on supporting independent publishers and emerging authors.

The titles you have are sometimes copies that are not so easily available in other places. Is there a selection process to know what kind of books and genres can be found in your bookstore?

Yes, as we are a small space we bet a lot on the selection of our catalog. Each of the members and Alejandro León (bookstore manager) make proposals of the material we want to offer. We are a hybrid bookstore that has old books (or as we prefer to call them; books with experience), and books from independent publishers and we select the most interesting novelties from the big publishers.

«Our greatest success is to survive.»

Another challenge, may be to keep the clientele interested in what you offer, could you describe some of the activities or events you have had to promote the love and interest in reading?

Our project goes hand in hand with that of Cine Tonalá. That is why we have offered poetry, collage, and storytelling workshops on its terrace. In addition to book presentations and poetry recitals, as well as a couple of book clubs.

The impact that a bookstore like La Moraleja can have is unique, so how do you think you influence your customers? What has been the biggest milestone achieved?

Like any cultural project in this country, our greatest success is to survive. We know how complicated it is to promote reading, but we believe in the importance of books and how necessary it is for a country like ours to broaden the reading experience in order to collectively do our bit to help make our country a better place.

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