English-Language Bookstores in Amsterdam

Bookshop in Amsterdam, Holland
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Amsterdam visitors on the hunt for vacation reads have plentiful options. Here are some of the top sources for English-language books in Amsterdam.

English-Language Bookstores in Amsterdam

The American Book Center Amsterdam
Spui 12
1012 XA Amsterdam
Tel.: +31 (0)20 625 5537

This beautifully-appointed bookstore, situated on Het Spui - a mecca for book lovers in Amsterdam - boasts an enormous variety of books spread over four floors.

Enthusiastic amateurs serve as buyers to ensure that each section is presided over by someone with passion and interest in their subject. The extensive and very non-Dutch business hours are a plus for out-of-town customers who aren't used to the typically Dutch closed-at-5-sharp practices.

The Book Exchange
Kloveniersburgwal 58
1012 CX Amsterdam
Tel.: +31 (0)20 626 6266

This one-man operation, established in 1978, is the city's best independent source for used books. The upper level is devoted to paperback fiction for that perfect vacation read, while the lower level is filled with more specialized sections such as Travel; the basement contains fantasy fiction but also veers towards more intellectual reads.

New English Book Store
Kalverstraat 223
1012 XC Amsterdam
Tel.: +31 (0)20 624 9789

While rather devoid of atmosphere, the New English Bookstore scores points for value and its convenient location.

The bookstore specializes in publisher's overstocks - i.e., the books left over when the publisher overestimates the demand for a title - which it sells at rock-bottom prices, as much as 90% off. Located on the popular retail street Kalverstraat, it's worth a stop for passersby in search of cheap reads.

Waterstone's
Kalverstraat 152
1012 XE Amsterdam
Tel.: +31 (0)20 638 3821

For British readers, Waterstones need no introduction, but for others, it's useful to note that this is the only branch of a chain of 300+ bookstores in Great Britain and Ireland. Its location on Kalverstraat and Het Spui puts it in the corner of the most bookish square in Amsterdam.

Several Dutch bookstores also stock an extensive selection of English-language books:

Athenaeum Boekhandel & Nieuwscentrum
Spui 14-16
1012 XA Amsterdam
Tel.: +31 (0)20 514 1460 (bookstore); +31 (0)20 514 1470 (newsstand)

One of the more "bookish" bookstores in Amsterdam, Athenaeum is known for its intellectual titles and its place in the Amsterdam literary world. The bookstore, with its ties to Amsterdam's universities, has a vast selection of academic titles, while the adjacent newsstand is an excellent source for international newspapers and other periodicals.

Boekenmarkt aan Het Spui
Het Spui
1012 XA Amsterdam

While not technically a bookstore, this weekly rare and used book market is one of the forces responsible for Het Spui's reputation as a must-see destination for book lovers in Amsterdam. Some 25 booksellers peddle their wares on the leafy square, where visitors are liable to pick up the most spectacular finds.

selexyz scheltema
Rokin 9, 1012 KK Amsterdam, Netherlands
Tel.: +31 (0)20 523 1411

"selexyz scheltema" (lowercase letters intended) feels a lot like the Barnes & Noble of Amsterdam, with its wide selection of mainstream books and an in-house branch of one of the Netherlands' most widespread cafe chains, Bagels & Beans. Its five floors of books overlook the lively Koningsplein - which can also be seen via the TERENA Webcam Koningsplein, part of our list of Amsterdam web cams.