Not too long ago, my city lost its wonderful second hand bookstore. Due to some fuckups from the higher ups (it’s a long story, but the Dutchies will understand when I say: De Slegte/Selexyz/Polare) the store’s gone now. I really miss it, it was my go-to store with very reasonably priced used books including a decent English collection.
Because that is the problem with many stores in the Netherlands. They usually all have an English section, but it’s either small, doesn’t have a large or refreshing selection, or it’s… expensive.
That’s why one of my favourite bookstores – not in my own city – is the American Book Center. They are located in Amsterdam and The Hague and they have the best selection ever. I love them! And they even have discounted and used books!
Besides that I admit that for English books I often seek refuge online, with the Book Depository for example…
But I’d never buy Dutch books online. We have a fixed book price in the Netherlands, meaning books are rarely discounted. This means it doesn’t matter where you buy them. That’s why I love buying them in a bookstore, so I can support the store. We don’t have any especially nice bookstores (or even independent stores?) in my city but there’s nothing wrong with the ‘regular’ bookstore.
So how often do I go to the bookstore? Back when we had our used bookstore, which was on the way from my house to work 😉 , I’d go at least once a week (and would never leave the store without at least one book). Now I’m not going as often. I mostly buy English books online, and there’s not many Dutch books I desperately want lately. So these days I go maybe once a month? And might even leave without a book.
(Heavily compensated by all the books I bought online until recently. Back on a book buying ban right now!)