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About Us

Booksellers with a personal touch

This family-owned bookstore, opened in 1972, has been quirky, friendly and knowledgeable from the start. Can you believe that, just counting our present 45-member staff we represent more than 700 years of combined bookselling experience? Our booksellers are also the book and magazine buyers, who choose what to stock based on customer interaction. The result is a personally curated assortment of titles throughout our stores in Amsterdam (1972), The Hague (1976) and Leidschendam (2021).

We started out as American Discount Book, Magazine, Poster Retail and Distribution Center B.V., American Discount for short. "Discount" was an important part of the name, because we sold only remainder books and magazines that came from America, and we gave students, teachers and purchasers of paper Discount Cards 10% off the price of all their purchases- and we still do!

In the '80s and '90s, our stores in Amsterdam and The Hague moved to larger locations, our staff got so much smarter, and our book selections changed. Some customers asked where the discount books were? Gone, pretty much! So why not just call yourselves The American Book Centers? Good point. For the next two decades, we did just that, until it seemed better to use ABC as our overall nickname in order to link our website abc.nl with our actual stores.
A new logo for ABC was designed and, in 2015, a secondary logo was adopted. We changed the name Discount Card to Booklover Card and made very popular linen Booklover bags. (We've expanded the 10% discount program to include people 55+ on Mondays, 65+ every day. Anyone can purchase a Booklover Card, good for a whole year.) And yes, we still sell discounted books and magazines. There's extra discount any time you buy more than 9 books.

The Amsterdam location is often listed as one of the Ten Most beautiful Bookshops in the World, and our stores are highly rated for assortment and personal service. Besides books and magazines, our stores also sell greeting cards, diaries, notebooks and merchandise.

Betty the Bookmaking Machine joined us in 2010 - as the first machine on the continent! - so that readers who are writers can make and sell their own books in the store.

Since 2015, we've specialized in helping Dutch schools choose English books for their pupils.

Our many author events are held in both stores, online, and on location with cooperating partners.

Donations to BetterWorldBooks

Over the past few years, ABC and many of you have donated your old books to BetterWorldBooks. We can't think of a better organisation to give your old books to. To date, more than 14.000 of the books you donated at ABC, have found new homes.

BetterWorldBooks has raised millions of dollars for literacy, saved millions of books from landfills, created jobs for hundreds of people, and provided wonderful books to millions of readers worldwide. The story is still being written, and you can help write it.

So, if your shelves are overflowing and there are books that you no longer want to keep but will make excellent reads for someone else - put them in the BetterWorldBook boxes in our stores!

In order to keep books moving to new readers, we regularly hold Trade-In Days and book donation drives for BetterWorldBooks.

In spite of huge changes in the book industry and reader preferences, even after 52 years we intend to remain a personal, human-run, independent
Center (for booklovers on both sides of the counter) for
American (and international English language)
Books (magazines, games, e-books, agendas and self-made books).

Thanks for your continuing loyalty. You can call or write us anytime. Even better drop by to touch and smell the books and to meet us, their curators.

The ABC Family staff and owners

P.S. Follow us on social media - there's always something happening at ABC!