A few points:
- In Santiago, DR there is really only one bookstore
- There are quite a few Bible and Christian-related bookstores
- Dominicans watch TV and Youtube, they don’t read paper books
- the Dominican population as a whole is characterized by a very, very low reading and writing ability (and that is SPANISH reading and writing, to say nothing of foreign langauges)
In Santiago there is something of a bookstore (as we understand them in America) attached to the large, upscale grocery store “Supermercado Nacional”. The one you will be looking for is near the corder of Avenida 27 de Febrero and Avenida Estrella Sadhala. It is called “Libreria Cuesta”. I purchased the Spanish version of a few John Grisham books there. Here is the google maps link
The grocery store is very upscale; and it’s large and yellow. The entrance is inside the grocery store.
There is Very Little Demand for Reading Material
It is the same reason you find tons of TVs, but no decent computer monitors one would use for work: nobody buys them, so why try to import. There is just very little, to no demand at the grass roots level for printed books (or electronic for that matter as well). In Santo Domingo you will find a single store Bookstore (also a branch of “Libreria Cuesta”), but it is nothing at all like a Barnes and Noble. People here are not intellectual at all, and there Spanish is not that good either. And I generally adore the people. They are highly religious and you do in fact find quite a few Bible bookstores.
Dominicans Read the Bible
I found a good 6-7 Christian-related bookstores in Santiago. Commentaries, Study Bibles (I’m a big fan of the study Bible genre), large print, small print, and various versions: that’s what you’ll find in healthy supply. I’ve discovered people who, despite giving me the sense that they were rather illiterate, could give me a strong analysis of important themes in the Bible; and with specific scriptural references.
Fundamental Literacy Levels are Very Low in the DR
It shouldn’t come as a surprise they don’t read: most have been barely taught to do so at an early age. They’ve not been exposed to reading regularly during the formative years of their education. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve observed girlfriends of mine send me garbled Spanish messages on whatsapp: they can barely spell Spanish words.
If you want to do anything for the Dominican Republic, this would be a good place to start.