I came across a new service here in Utrecht that is handy for book lovers. There is now a book courier service available that can get a book to you within two hours. Order between 9-20:00 and they’ll deliver between 10-21:00. For free!
The service is through Selexyz, one of the large book chains in the Netherlands. They have a good selection of English-language books, and probably a few other languages, as well. If you prefer to browse the store yourself, their Utrecht location is on the Oudegracht, right across from the Stadhuis. [Edited to add: The book store has undergone a few changes and names, but there is still a book store in that location, though I don’t know if they offer the delivery service now.]
I get a lot of people visiting my blog after searching for places to buy English-language books in Utrecht, so I figured I’d update the list. Sadly, the used-book store I used to go to on Voorstraat has closed. I’m not sure if they’ve just moved or closed for good. Fortunately, there are a number of other book stores offering a variety of books.
On Saturdays at the outdoor market over at Vredenburg, there’s a stall that sells used books. They also tend to have a section devoted to English-language books, as well as some in French and German. [Not sure they’re still there. 2016]
Savannah Bay (Telingstraat 13) was the first Dutch feminist bookshop, founded in 1975. It focuses primarily on gender/sexuality/literature/poetry, with a large selection of English-language gender studies books, but other topics as well.
Aleph Books (Vismarkt 9) has a mix of new and used books, with a large emphasis on art and history. Books are available in Dutch and English.
Boekhandel Libris (Servetstraat 3) is right next to the Domtoren and looks out onto the Flora’s Hof. They have a mix of fiction and non-fiction in Dutch, English, French and German. It’s fun to browse and you’re bound to find something you want to read.
De Rooie Rat (Oudegracht 65) has a mix of new and used books in multiple languages. Most books lean toward philosophy and politics, but you never know what you’ll find.
Bruna has both online and brick-and-mortar shops. There’s a Bruna in the train station that comes in handy with magazines and books (in Dutch and English) for those times when you realize you might need something to read to pass the time. There’s also one on Steenweg, as well as the corner of Maliebaan and Nachtegaalstraat (or whatever it’s called at that point)
Finally, Bol.com is an online shopping option, similar to Amazon before it started selling everything and the kitchen sink. They’ve got books in multiple languages, both new and used, as well as music, games and various electronics. Play.com is a similar website.
[Edited to add: There’s now an Amazon.nl that is still pretty much only books right now. /2016]