In every city I have ever lived in, visiting good bookstores has always been important. And thus, finding good bookstores is always an important first step. In the Seattle area, I always loved visiting Elliot Bay Book Company, down the street from my first apartment there, as well as the Borders in Redmond Towne Square for one of the better computer sections in town. In San Francisco I visited the Books Inc in my neighborhood on Chestnut, and occasionally checking the B&N in near Fisherman’s Wharf for something more mainstream. In my first stay in the Bay Area, I loved Stacey’s in Palo Alto and on Stevens Creek for uncomparable technical sections, but unfortunately those stores have closed and the sole surviving store in downtown SF is probably close to closing as it now sucks.
Today I went to find a store I had learned about online: The American Book Company on Kalverstraat. ABC is a wonderful store and had exactly what I was looking for, well, mostly. I picked up another copy of an Amsterdam map (I think I left my other copy at work, and the map store on my block is closed on Sundays), and a walking tours guide to the city and surrounding areas. I was also looking for a tourist guide to Norway as I will be there next week for a few days. Unfortunately all they had was a single pricey version that didn’t interested me much. I was planning to use the walking tour book later on but as soon as I walked out of the store, the rain started in force and threw that plan out the window. So I wandered down the street and found another massive English-language book store just a few doors down…Waterstones. A little fancier, but similar selection. Their range of choice of Norway books was a bit better but I still walked out without one. Oh well, I will probably head back in the next few days before I fly off to Oslo next Sunday.