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LIVRO 7, a bookstore in Recife

It was a meeting point for students, artists, intellectual and book lovers in general, becoming a milestone for the literary generations on Pernambuco.

LIVRO 7, a bookstore in Recife

Article available in: PT-BR

Last update: 11/10/2013

By: Lúcia Gaspar - Librarian of the Fundação Joaquim Nabuco

[...] Livro 7 transcended the charismatic character of Tarcísio Pereira, the hegemony of a left-winged block, and became a reason for everyone in Pernambuco to be proud. [...] it started to be a kind of Academia Pernambucana de Letras, in which having your picture hung above the shelves meant recognition and a certain immortality for the literary society of Pernambuco. There were many intellectuals, writers and poets that donated their pictures to be exposed there: Gilberto Freyre, Ariano Suassuna, César Leal, João Cabral de Mello Neto [...] (D’MORAIS, 2008).

Livro 7 started in a small store (a little over twenty square meters) on Rua Sete de Setembro –  a street that crosses Av. Conde da Boa Vista, in the neighborhood of Boa Vista. It was inaugurated on July 27, 1970. 

Located close to the Faculdade de Direito do Recife, to Parque 13 de Maio, to the then Cinema Veneza and the Teatro do Parque, it was a meeting point for students, artists, intellectual and book lovers in general, becoming a milestone for the literary generations on Pernambuco.

In 1978, it moved to a big warehouse, in the same Rua Sete de Setembro, with the goal of becoming the biggest bookstore in Pernambuco. With its tripods and bookshelves, occupying a space of 1,200 m², it became, in the 1970s and 1980s (for five years in a row), the biggest bookstore in Brazil, in number of books (60,000) and extension of bookshelves, according to the Guinness Book.

Starting at the expansion, it started to be, besides from a reference for Pernambuco intellectuals, a touristic attraction of the city. Many people would go to the library just to visit it and to take pictures with the collection. The writer Fernando Sabino called it the “Maracanã of books”. 

[...] Around Livro 7, another Pernambuco generation was created, with their writers, artists and filmmakers. Their music, cinema and art sessions brought people interested in works that certainly wouldn’t be found anywhere else. And everything was exposed, accessible, with a square in the middle for reading, without any need to buy the books. Many students used Livro 7 as a public library [...] (D’MORAIS, 2008)

Even when I was a child, it was already a media highlight due to the performance of several events, such as autograph afternoons/evening session, recitals, debates, super-8 movie projections, exhibits/performances and even chess tournaments, in which it was the first.

Hermilo Borba Filho, Antonio Torres, Nagib Jorge Neto, José Mário Rodrigues and Joaquim Cardozo were the first authors to do book launchings at that bookstore.

Besides from known Pernambuco writers, in which you can also include Gilberto Freyre and João Cabral de Melo Neto, starting in 1979, in association with Edições Pirata, Livro 7 held several collective book launchings. One of its trademarks was the collection of Pernambuco authors. In some bookshelves, there were only titles published by Pirata.

A meeting point to the members of Geração 65 – a Pernambuco literary movement – this bookstore became a landmark in the cultural life of Recife. 

According to Tarcísio Pereira (1997, p. 144-145), former owner of the bookstore, Geração 65 was extremely important for poetry; it comprised artists of different areas.  

Livro 7 was a pioneer in concepts currently used by large bookstores, such as open spaces, chairs for reading, besides from several cultural events and autograph sessions.

At some point it had branches in the states of Paraíba, Alagoas and Ceará.

Their biggest and more complex book launching was one for the American author Sidney Sheldon. At the time, 940 books were sold in two and a half hours of autographs. When he met the literary agent of the writer in the Frankfurt Book Fair, in Germany, Tarcísio Pereira, through many negotiations, was able to do the autograph night for the famous author in his Recife bookstore.

Besides from all his prestige and recognition from the audience and media, for several reasons, the entrepreneurship got into a financial crisis and closed in 1998.

It was a time of recession, when the teachers, the biggest clients of the bookstore, had their salaries reduced; and the degradation of the neighborhood of Boa Vista was visible, the bookstore, after 28 years of operation, closed, in 1998. [...]

With its closure, not only the reference space was lost for new Pernambuco writers, that could interact with those that had already published, but also a symbol for the city of Recife – an identity spot. How many intellectuals from other states or even foreigners had in Livro 7 an interest point! How much pride did that bookstore bring! [D’MORAIS, 2008).

Recife, August 21, 2013.

sources consulted

ARAÚJO, Ronilson. Todas as estradas culturais do Recife levavam à Livro 7. 2008.  Available at: <>. Accessed: 19 ago. 2013.

D’ MORAIS, Marcos. O Livro & e a Geração 65. 2008. Available at: <>. Accessed: 20 jun. 2013.

LIVRO 7: um flash-back da maior livraria do Brasil. Available at: <> . Accessed: 15 ago. 2013.

PEREIRA, Tarcísio. A livraria Livro 7 e a Geração 65. In: BEZERRA, Jaci (Org.). Geração 65: o livro dos trinta anos. Recife: Fundarpe, 1997. p. 140-1454.

how to quote this text

Source: GASPAR, Lúcia. Livro 7, uma livraria do Recife. Pesquisa Escolar Online, Joaquim Nabuco Foundation, Recife. Available at: <>. Accessed: day month year. Exemple: 6 August 2009.