#40 Powell’s Books

P1010256Powell’s Books
1005 W Burnside
Portland, OR 97209

Cue the trumpets!  Cue the elephants and dancing girls.  Ladies and gentleman, I give you Powell’s.  Really, what else is there to say?

This is where books go to heaven:  The largest new and used bookstore in the world.  68,000 sq ft.  — a full city block long — books, books, books, coffee, and books.  People on every floor and in every cranny.  People streaming in all day.

I can almost promise that you will find the book you’re looking for.  3,000 used books are purchased every day.  If it was published, it’s sure to be in one of the 9 color-coded rooms, on one of the four floors.  Just ask a bookseller.  You’re sure to find someone.  There are, after all, around 200 employees working here.P1010260

The store has been around since 1971.  It’s a valuable part of the community.  A tourist destination of the first order and one of the largest draws in the state.  There’s also the website,complete with reviews, author interviews, essays and blog.

It’s truly a labyrinth that would make Borges swoon.  Not only will you find books you’re looking for, you’ll find books you had never even considered, but realize you suddenly need.

Every bibliophile should make a point to visit this store.  Every person in the book business should as well.  Every bookseller, author, agent, publicist, editor, publisher, and intern should have to set foot inside this store and look for one book.   Just for the sheer joy of it.

An absolutely must not miss!


Published in: on July 24, 2009 at 5:11 pm  Comments (4)  

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  1. Best bookstore ever!

    Gotta love a bookstore where you need a map just to navigate.

    AND YES, you really can get lost in this bookstore, but it’s soo much fun finding your way back, and they have a coffee shop that ISN’T a Starbucks – added bonus. Woo Hoo!

  2. My favorite thing now that I don’t live in Portland? The online services.

    1. What you’re looking at online is their actual inventory. If they don’t have it, they *tell* you.

    2. The notification service. If there’s an out of print book you’re looking for, let them know and they’ll email you when they get a copy.

    3. They use the industry standards for describing used books, which they also publish, so you know *exactly* what you’re getting.

    When I lived in Portland, Powell’s was a destination. My whole family would go, we’d split up and set a time to meet in the coffee shop and debate what in the huge stack we had each compiled to actually purchase.

    I also purchased a large number of the Spanish novels I needed for my BA and then my MA in Spanish Lang and Lit. Saved bunches of money, and they always had what I was looking for.

    Currently I subscribe to their newsletter and daily book review blogs. Good stuff.

    In general, I *love* Powell’s. Best. Bookstore. EVER.

  3. And, though it isn’t mentioned. 2 Blocks away is the Powell’s Technical Bookstore. Because 68,000 sq ft really just isn’t enough, Powell’s is my happy place.

  4. This sounds like Mecca for bookworms.

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