There are hundreds of books written about Ecuador, and a third of those books are written about one city, Cuenca. With all of this information written about a single city how does a person go about finding the right book for them among fifty books! The not knowing if you are buying the book that fits your needs and circumstances can be frustrating and downright overwhelming!
When we first published the DIY Cuenca Landing Guide back in March of 2012 it was one of two books written exclusively about Cuenca, and all the rest were about the Galapagos Islands and photo books of Ecuador and South America books with excerpts or chapters about Cuenca. And today that has all changed—there are literally hundreds of books written about Ecuador, and about 30 of those books are written just about Cuenca. In fact, the market is inundated with so many books covering Cuenca that some people end up buying two to five different books. And that’s okay if it is in your budget to do so and actually many of the Kindle versions are so low priced that you could buy them all!
We haven’t read any of the other books written about Cuenca because, well, we live here and are “do-it-yourself types”. Before moving to Cuenca we published 12 other books about various subjects, from marriage to health and so for us, writing a few more books to assist folks with their visit or move to Ecuador was very customary for us to do so. We’re writers and researchers and love our work!
We are sure that most of the books written about Ecuador, offer some fine insights and good information about moving to and living in Ecuador. That's why this article is not going to talk about specific books to read or not to read; there is no bias intended here, we simply want to help you narrow down your search from the hundreds of books on the market to about five or ten books? Let’s get started.
1. Are You Visiting or Moving to Cuenca?
Are you just visiting for a one to three month discovery trip or will you be moving here? If you are only visiting Cuenca on a 1 to 3 month tourist stay, that will surely narrow down your Cuenca book search from 30 books to about 10 books.
Visitors do not need to know the 'logistical and preparation' kind of information until you actually know that you will be moving here, although it is perfectly fine to read any books that you feel will be useful to your visit. We’re not trying to discourage you from reading any particular book(s).
2. First time Visitors to Cuenca? First time visitors want to do the fun things like sightseeing tours and museums, and maybe they want to know about the culture and other activities that Cuenca has to offer. At this point just about any of the books written about Cuenca Ecuador are going to be of some entertainment value as well as informational. Once you have visited Cuenca and know you want to move here then you can move on to the more logistical and practical books.
3. You know for sure you are moving to Cuenca? The folks who know they are moving to Cuenca want to know about the immigration process, health care system, health insurance, medications, banking, volunteering, neighborhoods, and the expat life in general, etc, and there are many wonderful informational books covering these topics. Answering this question should narrow down your book search to about 5 books.
4. Frugal traveler or extravagant traveler? Knowing ahead of time what your visit is going to be about will narrow down the book search by a lot. Are you on a budget with a plan to only spend a certain amount, whatever that might be for your situation, or does money not matter? As you begin your search for the book(s) you think will fit your situation, you will soon find there are books written for budgeting in mind (DIY Guides) and others written for the extravagant traveler.
5. Do you want first hand material or do you not care?
What happens when the market gets flooded with so many books about the same city? Well, you will begin to receive the same information over and over again, only worded in a different style of writing. One lady on Amazon commented on a book about Cuenca that the book contained information she had already read in another book. When 30 people are writing books about Cuenca (and it is probably more than that) it is bound to happen. This is why, knowing the dates of publication for published works comes in real handy for knowing when the materials first originated.
The DIY Cuenca Landing Guide was one of two or three books published about Cuenca, behind Connie Pombo’s 101 Questions. Our first edition was published in March of 2012. And we proudly love to share that we keep the DIY Landing Guides updated and have just published the seventh edition of the Cuenca Landing Guide in January 2015!
So here’s the reality of it, if there are other books written about the same topics you will most likely receive a lot of the same material you’ve already read in other books. This is why it is good to know the dates of the first publication because subsequent books by other authors could basically be echoing similar concepts, although not necessarily as firsthand experience and/or the latest updated version.
6. Does the author(s) update their book? Is the information you’re getting timely and updated? Books that are even a few years old, unless the author has updated and published a new edition, will have old information in them. However, that doesn’t necessarily invalidate it unless the book is about important logistical information such as health care costs, or the paperwork for immigration, which changes in the blink of an eye, or hotel prices and addresses, etc, etc.
Many things that were customary for Ecuador residency back in 2012, 2013, and even 2014 has now changed which means it does not apply, or it means you need to have more/other/different documents for the residency process. For instance, the new law has informed us that now everyone needs to have an FBI background check, plus the local police report for the residency Visa. Next year, who knows?
Any books that deal with important information pertaining to retiring/moving to Ecuador should really be updated with new editions at least every three to six months! If they have not done this then that book will be out-of-date and there is nothing worse than spending money on worthless content.
Furthermore, if the book is an eBook, which just means digital copy, then there is no reason authors should not be updating their manuscripts with up-to-date info. We are very strict about keeping our Quito, Cuenca, and Coastal guides updated because there is information in them such as business establishments with contact information and addresses, lodgings with prices, etc, that NEED updated periodically, etc. It’s a lot of work but it is something that has to be done in order to provide relevant books that people will enjoy and use for the purpose it is intended.
7. Who Are the Writers? Do They Live in the Country they are Writing about?
It was only but a few months after we wrote the DIY Cuenca Landing Guide that books were popping up all over the place about Cuenca. One such place was a guide book like ours and they priced it $1 dollar less than ours. The problem is they do not live in Cuenca! Now seriously folks, how good can a (guide) book really be when someone doesn’t actually live in Ecuador? They flew in, walked around a little bit, talked to a few locals and a few expats and then wrote a book!
And as a final point, we offer our three recommendations for buying books about any city/country you are considering for retirement abroad.
1. You want to read books from authors who actually live in the country they are writing about, unless the book is solely written for entertainment purposes and has no useful information in it.
2. Make sure you look at their website or blog material. Do you like what you read? Are you subscribed to their newsletter or posts, and do you enjoy it? Is it useful and informative? If so, then you will probably love their book and it will be informative too. Be careful though, if their website has a lot of hype you can be sure the book will too and there’s usually an agenda in the pipeline.
3. The best material will never have an agenda attached to it. Hyping up and glamorizing cities that one does not even live, is an agenda already. No place is paradise. So it makes sense that the books that reflect the good and the not-so-good will be the most informative read overall for anyone who is considering a move to Cuenca Ecuador, or any city in the world, for that matter.
And finally, being a good writer means more than just understanding grammar and telling a good story; you have to love the subject, by, either having a deep understanding of the subject and/or, by doing the appropriate research on what you are writing about. Therefore , the best books are written for the reader in mind, not what they think the reader wants to hear.
Nonfiction works absolutely NEED to provide helpful information that can be utilized by the reader in some way that pertains to the subject at hand. In this case, we’re talking about travel books for Cuenca Ecuador. We have been told that our three DIY Landing Guides provide VERY useful information for the traveler, not only that, but saving them big bucks when they first arrive to Ecuador and saving money is always a good thing, don't you think?! Happy Travels!!
We're an Expat Family of Five, Living Frugal, Healthy and Happy in Cuenca Ecuador! Enjoy the Discover Cuenca Ecuador blog!