Archive for the ‘Life at ABC’ Category

ABC’s 42nd Birthday Recap

Saturday, June 14th, 2014

ABC Amsterdam

Thank you for all the congratulations!  What a gorgeous sunny day we had.  :-)  The mini muffins, balloons and the free books were very much appreciated by you.  A lot of people handed in the €5 Birthday voucher (sent to everyone who subscribes to the News Mailing).  This mail voucher was a test of sorts for us, as well, so we were happy to see that many of you took the trouble to print it out and use it.

ABC The Hague

We had a fun, festive day.  The cupcakes provided by the American Baking Company didn’t last long!  Everyone appreciated the free titles given away and we loved the atmosphere you all brought.

Book Statue on the Spui in Amsterdam

“At 11.30 Rietveld students started making several book sculptures with 3 pallets of books supplied by us. They were supossed to go on building until about 15.30 but at around 14.30 its started to rain (luckily only for about ten minutes) so we decided to start the breakdown/give-away early as we didn’t want good books ruined. It was crazy!  Locals, tourists, people just passing by could not believe we were just giving away books like this and many people walked away with one or a small stack (and of course there were also some people who got real greedy and did not want to share and took lots of books). ABC’s owner Lynn, the Rietveld students and I walked around explaning to people why they could take these books for free and handed out ABC book marks. Within an hour and a half 3 pallets of books were gone! Three small boxes of lonely titles remained and will be donated to a good cause.  You can see lots more pictures on our Flickr page.
Lynn also had to go in to the store to get a new pink John Waters bookmark for a 70 year-old lady, who was upset she lost hers. She said his quote was a great standard to live by! ;-) ” – Karin, ABC’s Marketing Director

“Beste mensen van The American Book Center!

Bedankt voor het prachtige fotoboek van Ansel Adams, een 2-tal romans en een kookboek. Fantastisch leuke geste van The American Book Center gisteren op het Spui in Amsterdam aan alle Amsterdammers en toeristen, waaronder ik.  Zomaar duizenden boeken neerleggen om door iedereen gratis te worden meegenomen. Zodra ik weer in Amsterdam ben kom ik in de winkel gewoon wat kopen.

Groeten, Ria van Bree-Boersma, Rotterdam”

And many thanks to Peter Eijking for making the video below! It gives a great impression of this unique event.

Store Bits: Free Comic Book Day, Ziggy Marley, Power Couples and Spotlight on Romance

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

Were you one of the people that came by our stores on May 3rd as part of Free Comic Book Day?  Our Luke snapped a few pictures of the ABC Amsterdam First Floor Crew getting into the spirit of things…  :-)  If you missed it, no worries: the next one is on May 2nd, 2015!


Our Rick got Ziggy Marley to sign his copy of I Love You, Too (ebook available here).


Luke spotted Batman and Cleopatra on ABC Amsterdam’s Film & TV shelf.  I think he’s spot-on in thinking this could be the perfect power couple!


And not one but two Romance tidbits!  First of all, I have to blush a little bit because Suzanne from wrote a lovely blog post about one of the Blind Book Dates from my Romance section at ABC The Hague.  So fun to read the book’s journey, and I really hope she’ll enjoy the incendiary book…  ;-)  (There’s an ebook here, although we can’t quite wrap those up, so it won’t exactly be a blind date!)

Also, at ABC The Hague there’s a bit of a spotlight the coming month on Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series.  If you’re like me you’ve been impatiently awaiting the new instalment, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood.  It’s due out in June, so that’s just enough time to complete your series, reread all the previous titles or else get someone else hooked, don’t you think?  The first part of the series, Outlander, is now only €8,99!  (Ebook available under its UK title, Cross Stitch.)

Carollers at ABC Amsterdam

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Last Sunday, the booksellers of ABC Amsterdam’s First Floor were regaled with a Christmas medley by the lovely carolling group Don’t Mention The NoteAviva was clever enough to make a video of their performance:

Ladies, please come by every holiday season!  What a way to get into the holiday spirit.  :-)

Beatboxing with Wookiees

Friday, November 25th, 2011

As we may have mentioned before, we have awesome customers. And as I think we might have mentioned once or twice lately,  Thanksgiving is our favorite day of the year here at ABC, and yesterday in Amsterdam it was extra special: magic happened on the first floor when a customer grabbed a copy of How To Speak Wookiee and did… this:

It was so fantastic, I had a little mini-geekout right there at the register. Unfortunately, I was so busy helping the hordes of customers storming the cash desk that I couldn’t get away to record the awesomeness as it happened. Or even find out his name.

Luckily one of this guy’s friends gave himself a five second “Intuitively Teach Your Self Mad Camera Skillz For iPhone”course, and the beatboxer was gracious enough to repeat his performance. If you are our fabulous wookie beatboxer, send an e-mail to and introduce yourself, because firstly, we want to let everyone know who you are! And secondly, we would LOVE you to come in again so we can make a kick ass video of you for the whole world to see. And maybe we can get you to do this to How To Speak Zombie too. :-)

The perfect bookstore soundtrack

Monday, October 10th, 2011

At ABC you won’t hear marketing department selected muzak piped in to both stores. You won’t hear any Kenny G or Whitney Houston and you probably won’t hear anything from the weekly top 40.

We like classical music, but we don’t want to hear it all day long. ABC staff are lucky: management doesn’t pick our music. We do. Take a stroll through our Amsterdam store and you’ll hear Andrew Bird, Billie Holiday, Thievery Corporation, Andy McKee, Plan B, David Grey, Kurt Nilsen and Elvis.  And if Tiemen’s working, you might have to listen to Rick Astley or Elton John.

We know that what we play might not be to your taste. If it’s too loud, ask us to turn it down. If it sets your teeth on edge, ask us to change it. If you like it, come and tell us! One of ABC Amsterdam’s resident music addicts, Ward, told us about his bookstore soundtrack.

Finding the right balance as far as playing music in the store is concerned can be a tricky thing. On the one hand, you don’t want to scare away the customers with too much distortion and overloud guitars (we don’t sell choppers, after all). On the other, you don’t want to put them to sleep or bore them to death either. Add to this the fact that quite often it turns out that the music that works at home or on your headphones doesn’t seem to work as well in the store, and the challenge for us music-loving booksellers is set. This list, therefore, should be viewed in its context, and is not so much my definitive Top 5  (although some of these albums are definitely in there) as an overview of what I’ve played at work over the last year or two.

The Black Keys – Brothers

Another down and dirty blues-rock album from this dynamic American duo. Opener “Everlasting Light” wastes no time in displaying their brand of economic and infectious songwriting, and pretty much continues where their last album left off. Funky and tight, catchy and accessible, these songs are as strong on the fiftieth listen as they are on the first. If you want to get an idea of what you can expect, check out the excellent first single “Tighten Up.”

Black Mountain – Wilderness Heart

This band shares more than just a color with The Black Keys, as both display a keen ear for the past. But where the former channels the blues, Black Mountain wouldn’t stand out on a 70s comp with its mix of psychedelic rock and heavy guitars. Standout tracks are the slow-burning and organ-heavy “Old Fangs” and “Let Spirits Ride,” the latter of which almost manages to sound more like Black Sabbath than Black Sabbath itself. An excellent match to Brothers, I’ve often played these two albums back-to-back.

Bob DylanThe Original Mono Recordings

Next to volume 9 of his ongoing Bootleg Series, 2010 saw the rerelease of Dylan’s first eight albums as they were originally recorded, in mono. Sucker that I am, I of course fell for this obvious marketing ploy, and shelled about 80 euro’s for a bunch of albums I already owned. Then again, this is Dylan we’re talking about, and I’ll take any excuse I can get to listen to any of these gems. Simply put, the best string of albums to have ever been released by one of the most significant artist of the 20th century.

Midlake – The Courage of Others

Following up the absolutely fantastic The Trials of Van Occupanther (without a doubt one of my favorite albums of the noughties), Midlake chose to take British folk rock—complete with flutes!—as their main source of inspiration for this, their third record. Though not as strong as Van Occupanther, The Courage too is quite beautiful in its bleak desolation, and, like its predecessor, continues to grow on you with repeated listens.

The National – High Violet

Beautiful, just like their last one was beautiful, and the one before that, and the one before that…

What music do you think would belong on the perfect bookstore soundtrack?  Share your love of music and blog about it for us. You can pick a mix of albums or songs, or write about one album that you think is perfect for browsing books to. If we use your submission, we’ll send you an ABC gift voucher! (Read the submission rules first!)