We’ve seen a lot of cool things on 5th Avenue during our years living in Playa del Carmen, but this past Friday offered a whole new experience. If you happened to be walking along 5th Avenue by 28th Street around 6pm last Friday, you saw a small crowd of people sitting on both sides of the street… reading books!


Of course, the BuyPlaya Real Estate team had to take some pictures and find out more. It turns out this wasn’t just happening here on 5th Avenue – it was also taking place in countries throughout the world, all on the same day, August 14. These book readers were participating in the Primera Jornada Mundial de ‘Aire Libro’ (the First World Book Mob Day – like the famous flash mobs where groups perform a surprise choreographed dance in public, but with books). During this Book Mob, participants choose their own text to read, then read it aloud with the other participants simultaneously.

Here in Playa del Carmen, the Book Mob began with the blowing of a conch shell. Sitting against signs, posts and trees, the readers sat down on the street and pulled out their novels, quietly enjoying the books and sharing with others for a span of 20 minutes. Passersby looked on curiously, and some even stopped to ask more.









The conch shell sounded again at the end of 20 minutes, and the readers raised their books over their heads and shouted, “Leer libera!” (which means “reading frees you”). Participants then stood in a circle in the middle of 5th Avenue, and spent some time reading their books aloud, simultaneously. What a beautiful sound!




The idea for the Book Mob began in Colombia, and was brought to Playa del Carmen as part of Libros Libres (Free Books), a local initiative that organizes book exchanges as a way to encourage reading among the local community here in Playa. It was Rossy Vivanco and Paola Adriana Caliz Lopez of Libros Libres who organized this 5th Avenue event. Rossy Vivanco states, “A child, a young person who reads is a happy person. In these times with the way things are in Mexico, reading can be a way to escape, or art in general. Our proposal is that people don’t have to spend money; we can give them the opportunity to read.”


For this first Book Mob event, Playa del Carmen joined other participating countries like Italy, Peru, France, the United States, Colombia, Canada, other cities in Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and more. In total, over 25 countries across the globe joined in! The Book Mob provided a unique, memorable and public way to spread awareness about the joy and benefits of reading.

To learn more about book exchanges in Playa del Carmen, click here to follow Libros Libres on Facebook.