Towards the end of your trip to Amsterdam, after a couple of long layovers and train rides, you suddenly find you are out of things to read. You breezed through your paperbacks and magazines, and you watched all the movies you put on your iPad. Now you’re faced with an 8-hour transatlantic flight and a 3-hour layover before you get home. You do not feel like rolling the dice on the in-flight movie options (a two-hour block of CBS sitcoms!). You begin to think of where you can get something, anything to read. Dutch is about as close to English as it comes — they share an alphabet and many of the words look similar — but that still does not make it English. You could wait to get to the airport, but they only have the Just Crichton & King Bookstore, and you want something more than that.
Behold! Your savior! The ABC Bookstore is an honest-to-goodness English-language bookstore, and a great one at that. Centrally located on the Spui, its three floors cover everything from mystery and history to science and science fiction. The atmosphere is perfect for browsing and it is fun to leaf through the travel books lining the staircase as you move between floors.
Independently owned for close to 40 years, their selection is not what you tend to find at corporate booksellers. The books that are on the shelves are there more or less because customers asked for it. Instead of being told what to read by a handful of publishing executives, you can browse their shelves looking for what others are reading. The staff is very friendly and will go out of their way to help you find what you are looking for, even if you didn’t know you were looking for it.
ABC is open from 10am to 8pm Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. They are open until 9pm on Thursday and from 11am to 6:30pm on Sunday.
Even if you have plenty to read, you don’t, so stop here for a fun and unique book-browsing experience.