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Senate House Library

Cartonera Publishers Collection

A collection of 213 booklets produced in small editions by cardboard publishers (editoriales cartoneras) small grassroots cooperatives with strong links to local communities that originated in Argentina in 2003 and spread outwards in the 21st century, mostly the 2010s.

The Collection

Subject: Latin American studies

The booklets are distinguished by covers of recycled cardboard (Spanish cartón), paper and other discarded materials. Booklets are painted brightly by hand, occasionally with additional appliqué, such that each item is a unique artefact. Items are mainly from Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico, with some from Bolivia, Peru and Paraguay.

They are written in Spanish, Portuguese, Portuñol (a simplified mixture of Spanish and Portuguese) and Nahuatl (an indigenous Mexican language). They cover literature, social issues, and political matter from anarchist groups: for example, human rights issues, countercultural literature, social and political resistance, women’s rights, LGBTQ+ issues, indigenous rights and the rights of marginalised communities. Genres include poetry, short stories, narrative, essays and comics. Eloísa Cartonera and Dulcineia Catadora are among the main publishers.

Intended to make literature available at low prices for all, the booklets offered an opportunity to writers with no access to established publishers. They are not-for-profit works produced without copyright or ISBN.

Senate House Library purchased the material from Latin America as part of a collaborative AHRC-funded project (2017-2019) between Senate House Library, the British Library, Cambridge University Library and the Universities of Surrey and Durham.

Access to the collection


Catalogued online. To view the entire collection, do a mixed classmark search on ‘[C.P.C.]’. Books are roughly grouped together by publisher.

Related material

Further reading

Cartonera Publishing (2018), available at Cartonera Publishing(Opens in new window)