Powell's City of Books

1005 W Burnside St
Portland, OR 97209 US

The largest Independent Bookstore
Tourist Attractions Tourist Attractions
3stars based on 2 votes

Powell's City of Books - From humble storefront beginnings in 1971 on a derelict corner of northwest Portland, Oregon, Powell's Books has grown into one of the world's great bookstores, with five locations in the Portland metropolitan area, and one of the book world's most successful dot-coms, serving customers worldwide.

Powell's roots began in Chicago, where Michael Powell, as a University of Chicago graduate student, opened his first bookstore in 1970. Encouraged by friends and professors, including novelist Saul Bellow, Michael borrowed $3,000 to assume a lease on a bookstore. The venture proved so successful that he managed to repay the loan within two months. Michael's father Walter, a retired painting contractor, worked one summer with Michael in the Chicago store. He so enjoyed his experience that upon returning to Portland he opened his own used bookstore. Walter swamped his original location by buying every marketable used book that came through the door, finally pushing the whole operation into a former car dealership. The old car dealership has undergone many transformations, and Powell's today looks little as it did when Walter opened his shop in the early '70s. Michael joined Walter in 1979, creating a bookstore with a unique recipe that, though viewed as unorthodox, worked: Used and new, hardcover and paperback, all on the same shelf, open 365 days a year and staffed by knowledgeable and dedicated book lovers. Michael says, "In the used book world, mixing paperbacks and hardbacks was not so much of a stretch, but when my dad had the idea of bringing in new books too, I had no sympathy. Used and new on the same shelf? It seemed crazy." However, Michael concludes, combining books "had synergy way beyond what we expected. If you put all the new books in one store and all the used books in another, each wouldn't get half the total business — they drive each other." Six stores and several expansions later, Powell's went online in 1994, and experienced immediate success. Within two years, Powell's entire inventory was listed on the web.

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Powell's City of Books
1005 W Burnside St

OR 97209 US

(503) 228-4651
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Comments

tmowbray tmowbray
Powell's rules. So enormous you can easily get lost. Perfectly located on Burnside taking up an entire city block! Not a heavy reader? Doesn't matter! You'll for sure be able to find something up your alley at this place!
April 5, 2014 at 9:44 PM Powell's City of Books
derekneuland derekneuland
This is easily the best book store i've ever been to! It's so big, they have maps available to help you navigate the 4 stories/city block! My favorite thing is they shelve the used books right next to the new ones so you can pick based on condition and price.
March 14, 2014 at 2:35 AM Powell's City of Books
gordoandfriends gordoandfriends
They had a dizzying amount of books. The building took up pretty much a whole square block. Definitely worth checking out on a rainy Portland day!
February 24, 2014 at 4:39 AM Powell's City of Books

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