World Book Day

Lola Picks a BookToday is World Book Day. Every day should be World Book Day! Whether paperback, hardback, or ebook (eback?), books are wonderful things. I tend to read mostly ebooks at this point, due to convenience, but at heart I still prefer physical books. I like the feel of them and the way you can flip through them at will, marking favorite passages and such with pen or even random scraps of paper or anything else that can be used as a handy bookmark.

So when I saw yesterday that De Slegte was selling all of its books for €2 each, I knew I had to go. De Slegte is a wonderful bookstore on the Oudegracht, but sadly, like many bookstores, it’s closing. As I said, there’s a certain convenience to ebooks, but you can’t browse ebooks the way you can browse real books. I’ve found so many great books, just by browsing in stores.

By the time I made it to De Slegte this morning, it was clear that a lot had already been purchased, but there was still quite a lot from which to choose, in multiple languages. As you can see from the photo, we managed a decent haul. I picked up an art book on Annibale Caracci, an interesting illustrated history of Pennsylvania Avenue, and a book on some of the flora and fauna of Florida. I also picked up a couple of thrillers, including Gorky Park. I read the book years ago, but with current events, I thought I’d give it another read. Oh, and we picked up the massive Van Dale Dutch-English dictionary. We have a decent dictionary, but it’s not a Van Dale, which is THE name when it comes to Dutch dictionaries.

Everything must go at De Slegte and you’ve got through Saturday to take advantage of the €2 pricing. Still, the sooner you go, the better. After all, tonight is koopavond (shopping evening when stores stay open later) so there’s no telling what will be left if you wait until too late. Although the Norwegian Shipping News, in multiple volumes, is still available, if that’s your thing. It’s on a top shelf down in the kelder.

And now, a picture of a beautiful Doberman. It’s relevant in that the dog is sitting outside another book store.Waiting Patiently

Book Couriers and Bookstores in Utrecht

Bookstore and Library
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]

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