Saturday, December 29, 2007

Bookstore profile: Powells

I recently had the pleasure of visiting one of the legendary independent bookstores in the United States: Powells in Portland, Oregon.

All I have to say is: Wow. Wow. Wow. What an amazing place. This may well be one of the most incredible bookstores I've ever been in. Powells covers a full city block and has four floors filled with books. There are rows and rows of books on every subject imaginable. It's easy to get lost here and never come out.

And the children's section (where I spent most of my time) is particularly extraordinary. For example, there was a whole section just dedicated to Newbery books. Practically every book that had every won the Newbery Medal or received a Newbery honor was sitting there, in the same place. Also, since Powells interfiles used books with new books, I was able to find out of print and rare editions of books I love.

As I was walking through Powells, I overheard a lot of people talking on their cell phones. But they weren't have long conversations... they were just trying to FIND each other because the place is so big. For example: "I'm in Row 628, where are you?" or "I'm in the Purple Room... I'll meet you in the Green Room."

I highly recommend their fantastic website, which provides the same services as Amazon. They offer deep discounts, fast shipping, excellent customer service, and customer reviews. It's really wonderful. Check it out and support an independent bookstore.

If you love books and you're ever in Portland... or on the west coast... or in the United States, Powells is well worth a visit.

Have you ever been to Powells? What did you think?


  1. I love, LOVE that they shelve used and new books together. What did you buy??

  2. Anamaria- I agree... I love that they interfile new and used books. It makes a big difference.

    What did I buy? It wasn't too much because I was traveling, but I couldn't resist getting a couple of things.

    There seemed to be a sale on Emily Gravett hardcover picture books, which was fantastic, and I finally bought a copy of Orange Pear Apple Bear. I also bought Monkey and Me (which was surprising because I didn't think it was going to be published in the U.S. until the spring.)

    They also had a good selection of comic strip books. I bought two Stone Soup books that I was missing, a Sherman's Lagoon collection (In Shark Years I'm Dead) and A Pearls Before Swine collection (Sgt. Piggy's Lonely Hearts Club Comic).