There are a few excellent English bookstores in Florence. They have english-speaking staff. These are:
The Paperback Exchange
Via delle Oche 4R, right behind the duomo. Just like the title says, you can sell your paperbacks to them for credit towards more books! They stock used and new books, including university texts and titles in history, art history, literature, local/florence interest, and guidebooks.
BM Book Shop
email: firstname.lastname@example.org, tel: 055-294575
Borgo Ognissanti 4r
This funky store is filled to the gills with books and other stuff including vintage jewelry. They have a good selection of the usual stuff – fiction, florence-interest, travel – but their strong points are books on interior design and graphics, history of the renaissance, and cooking. They also have a beautiful selection of rare and collectible books in English, including a number of Berenson books.
SO SAD: THIS BOOKSTORE CLOSED IN NOVEMBER 2008
(USED TO BE: Via dei Neri 32R, not far from the back of the Uffizi. This WAS the slightly newer store in town. It’s very cute and has a good selection of books. Staff are always willing to order things for you. McRae is also a publisher.)
There are also Italian stores carrying english books:
Feltrinelli International, a large Italian bookstore chain, has a pretty good selection of recent English paperbacks at their via Cavour location, right by the major bus stop near the Duomo.
IF YOU CAN”T FIND IT, SHIP IT!!! ORDER FROM AMAZON.COM
(post updated May 18 2009)