The American Book Center, Amsterdam

No matter what city I find myself in, anywhere in the world, the moment I have some Wi-Fi (in the unlikely case that I haven’t researched this thoroughly before getting there) the first thing I try and locate are the nearest bookshops. I don’t care if they have English titles or not, if there is a bookshop in the vicinity and I can find it then that is where I am headed. I was told, by my lovely friend Adem who I met up with for an afternoon of wandering and cake hunting, that in Amsterdam THE best bookshop in the whole of the city was also in the heart of it and that was The American Book Center, and so off we toddled.


It is not often that the moment I walk into a bookshop I am left completely speechless and yet with a treasure trove like The American Book Center I found myself very much dumbfounded – the books literally go on forever as soon as you walk in…


Amazingly though, even though the bookshop is choc-a-block it manages to be light and airy throughout. I also loved the way that, with some wonderfully places tree bark/trunks the bookshop both feels it has the outside inside and pays homage to what books are after all made of.

I love a bookshop that is literally brimming with books and, like all the best bookshops, The American Book Center is one of such bookshop without it ever feeling cluttered or two much, even as you walk up the first flight of stairs there are books to admire and peruse as you make your way up…


And, to maximise on space, and look stunning, the books go from the very floor of the bookshop to the ceiling three stories up…


Once up the stairs the shop gets even better as books are EVERYWHERE yet whilst the bookshop does become something of a maze (in a good way) it never feels claustrophobic and because of the gaps between the shelves light gets through and it feels very open all at once.


And the shop just goes on and on, it is like a labyrinth of literature and one that I would love to get lost in all day – which I nearly did…


What was also really lovely about the place was the staff! Initially Adem and I simply couldn’t find the English language section of the book shop at first (not that I minded because I do love looking at foreign editions of books and their covers, don’t you?) and so we had to ask and the staff couldn’t have been better. We had a good chat as we meandered to the right place, talking about which books were big in Amsterdam and the Netherlands and also which books were big in the UK. We even had a chat about reviewing vs blogging and about why on earth the UK is so slow at translating books. Amazing.

So if you are ever in Amsterdam then make sure you head to The American Book Center, and that you leave yourself a good amount of time to have a wander around.

The American Book Centre is located at Spuistraat 12, 1012 XA Amsterdam (nearest tram stop is Spui) you can visit their website here.


Filed under Bookshops I Love

12 responses to “The American Book Center, Amsterdam

  1. My idea of heaven……. (swoons) 🙂

  2. It’s actually opposite Waterstone’s which I much prefer. 🙂

  3. I loved this book shop. I have been there on two different visits to Amsterdam and it was the first thing I looked for. It is a lovely store. It was nice to visit it yet a third time through this post.

  4. gaskella

    Wow! Love the look of that shop. When I get to Amsterdam one day, it’ll be on my destination list.

  5. I’m over in Amsterdam for CHEP 2013 in about 4 weeks. I’ll try to get over to look at this bookshop.

  6. Oh my goodness, I could spend the rest of my life in that bookstore. If I ever go to Amsterdam, I’m going to bring a sleeping bag and ask if I can just camp out there. Hahaha!

  7. Talk about a dream book shop – WOW!

  8. I want to go there! My daughter went to Brussels recently for the weekend and when I asked where what it was like she said, ‘Great! I found a really good second hand bookshop!’

  9. Julia

    You couldn’t find the English language section at an American bookstore?? I didn’t even know they have other languages than English at the ABC.

  10. That looks immense but….how do you get to the books right at the top of the huge shelves and, more intriguingly, how did they get them there?!

  11. This looks wonderful, and I’m off to Amsterdam this Christmas so will be able to sample the reality!

  12. Now why have I never been here?? I’ve been to Amsterdam quite a few times, but seem to have missed this one. There is a gorgeous little bookshop by the Leidseplein which specialises in theatre and poetry and I always come out with as many books as I can fit in my luggage home!

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