Archive for the ‘Spotlight’ Category


Spotlight on… Halloween

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Hey Halloween fans!  On the ground floor at ABC Amsterdam there’s a little display of Halloween-themed books!

Some of the titles you can find here are:

Come and have a browse (before November 1st, of course) for some spooky stories, costume inspirations and some more light-hearted Halloween fare.

Should you judge a book by its cover color?

Monday, September 1st, 2014

In July this year our store in Amsterdam had a great window: Blue books everywhere and some accompanying questions like “I’m looking for a book I saw here the other day, the blue one” or “I don’t remember the title, but it was blue.”  Believe it or not, we do get these kind of questions quite often. That shows you how important the cover, and certainly the color, is as part of the book.

As a follow-up to the blue window, two colleagues of the The Hague store, Simone and myself, got the idea to add some permanent color to the ABC’s website recommendations. Under the “C” you will now find nine lists, all made up of books sorted by cover color.

While adding these recommendations I noticed that the cover colors are ’section sensitive’. For instance, you’ll find a lot of blue and black books in the Business/Economics section, and most other non-fiction sections -come to think of it- harboring books that want to send out a message of dependability, authority and intelligence. Black is also often seen in covers of Sci-Fi books -the color of  space out there? ;-) - and Thrillers, where death and grief is often an issue. In the Psychology and Health sections you will see a lot of the color white, mostly associated with calm, space and peacefulness.

You can probably guess the most used color in the Nature/Gardening section: that’s right, green, the color of nature, trees, plants and grass. (And grass = soccer = green covers in the Sports section as well.)  And what about pink? Well, it’s a feminine color and therefore the color of a lot of style and fashion books and, of course, ideal for the Romance books, except for the really hot and steamy ones, which often have -blush- red (don’t forget the firemen) on their covers.

That said, most of our beloved books aren’t just one color and knowing what some colors mean, they aren’t always relevant to the content of the book. Sometimes the colors are just nice and/or go well together. So, although colors might be used for strategic and commercial purposes, don’t stare yourself blind (oh my gosh, a pun!) on them.

(Read more about cover colors here.)

Spotlight on… Illustration

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

Where before they were divided between the Art, Design, Fashion and even Children’s Books, we now finally have a real Illustration books section at ABC Amsterdam. Here you’ll find books by classic illustrators such as Charley Harper and Norman Rockwell as well as contemporary illustrators published by UK’s Nobrow. Infographics and some very lovely children’s books are represented here too; we’re especially excited about Gestalten’s new children’s books: Little Gestalten. One of their first titles coming up is Issun Boshi: The One-Inch Boy.

- Jesse, Art and Fashion & Beauty Buyer at ABC Amsterdam

Available now:

Coming soon:


Meet the Buyers: Travel Guides

Friday, July 11th, 2014

The days are long, it’s mostly dry and sometimes even sunny, and everyone is zombie-walking their way to their summer vacations. It must be July! High time to introduce you to the dapper gentlemen who make sure you have plenty of holiday destinations to choose from in our Travel Guides sections.

Meet MaxM from ABC Amsterdam and Tom from ABC The Hague:

How long have you been the section’s buyer?

MaxM: Since 2013.

Tom: I’m not entirely sure. Since 2002? 2004? Quite a while.

What guides, besides those on The Netherlands, do you always try to keep in stock?

MaxM: Those on Indonesia, Croatia, Japan, Berlin and Portugal.

Tom: Pretty much everything, really. Except the guides on Antarctica. But I really do try to have the entire Lonely Planet and Eyewitness guide collections in stock at all times. Rough Guides are a little less popular.

Do you take a travel guide with you when you go on vacation?

MaxM: No. I once bought one when I went to South Africa, but I didn’t use it. So out of habit I don’t buy them because I don’t really need them.

Tom: Yes. The way I travel I can only bring one guide with me, though, so it’s always the Lonely Planet for me. It has more info than the others about logistics, cheap accommodation, etc. I do look in other guides for information, though. Once I travelled to Rome with three other people, and every one of us had a different type of guide! That was great for comparisons.

Personal preference: Lonely Planet, Rough Guide or Eyewitness guides?

MaxM: Rough Guides. They offer more depth about the country’s culture and cultural institutions rather than purely information, which the Lonely Planets offer more of. They are also less frequently published than Lonely Planets, which to me seems like they have a better value.

Tom: Lonely Planets, as I just explained. Eyewitness guides are beautiful to look at. Rough Guides I’m not that familiar with, so it takes me a longer time to look up the information I need.

What has been the top-selling, non-Netherlands guide in 2014 so far?

MaxM: The Lonely Planet Japan. No matter how many I buy for the section, I always sell out quickly!

Tom: The past few years I’ve noticed that Croatia and Denmark have been relative bestsellers. Usually it’s the guides to France and Spain.

If you could visit any destination in the world, where would you go?

MaxM: Seoul and Tokyo. Seoul because it is the StarCraft capital in the world. I don’t play the game as much anymore, but I would love to soak up how unbelievably huge it is there. Tokyo because it is a country unto itself. It’s an enormous city, very densely populated, yet everything stays orderly. I’ve always wanted to go there.

Tom: I would like to visit Pitcairn and Socotra. Pitcairn because it’s one of those islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean that take forever to reach. The trip would be quite costly, but I would love to make it once. Socotra is an island off the Yemen coast. It has some spectacular nature, but because of its location it’s quite a dangerous place to travel to.

There are ebooks available for travel guides to Indonesia, Croatia, Berlin, Portugal, Antarctica, South Africa, Rome, Japan, Denmark, France, Spain, Seoul, Pitcairn (in the LP South Pacific) and Socotra (in the LP Oman, UAE and Arabian Peninsula). In fact, there are ebooks available for practically all travel guides! Check our Advanced Search for the destination of your choice.

Still not sure where your summer plans will take you? Check out our Nice Price: Travel recommendations list. It’s been freshly updated with our latest travel guide bargains.

Spotlight on… Whitechapel: Documents of Contemporary Art

Friday, June 20th, 2014

Whitechapel: Documents of Contemporary Art is a series of anthologies.  Each volume focuses on a specific theme or subject that has been a major influence in contemporary art. Each subject is edited by a different critic, curator, scholar or artist who provides texts by voices from different fields, defining the specific theme of the volume.

MIT Press, in combination with Whitechapel Gallery, has already published over 30 volumes with subjects such as Colour, The Archive, Chance, Documentary, Nature, Sound, and Appropriation.  Any reader interested in art will get a lot out of these books, not only students and professionals in the field.  Later this year the series will expand with Sexuality and Exhibition.

Personally, I think this is an excellent series of theory books that deserves a wide audience.

- Jesse, Art buyer at ABC Amsterdam