• Log In
  • Sign Up
    • What makes Powell's City of Books in Portland such a unique travel destination?

      I've touched on my love for independent bookstores before (and others have joined in, making it a wonderful conversation)!

      As per Wikipedia, "Powell's City of Books is located in the Pearl District on the edge of downtown and occupies a full city block between NW 10th and 11th Avenues and between W. Burnside and NW Couch Streets. It contains over 68,000 square feet (6,300 m2), about 1.6 acres of retail floor space. CNN rates it one of the "coolest" bookstores in the world."

      You're supposed to use a map to explore its various color-coded rooms! Here's the sample map below.

      You start off entering most likely through the Green Room entrance.

      This room is new arrivals and staff recommendations along with cool curated local souvenirs, food finds, and cards.

      Advancing through Green you get to the Blue Room, which is general Literature across genres. You then go up the stairs to the Gold Section (which contains Science Fiction, Horror, Games, Graphic Novels / Comics / Anime, and more)!

      Behind the Gold Room is the World Cup Coffee & Tea cafe, as well as Mysteries, Thrillers and Romance.

      Looking for regional recommendations? Powell's has that covered.

      So many good books heading to the screen!

      Head up the stairs to see the Magazines section!

      You're then on the next level, which has the Orange section (Music, TV / Film, Humor, Cooking, New arrivals)...

      (*you have to love any bookstore that has sections specifically highlighting fun topics, here's one example)

      Heading through Orange, you then get to the Rose room, which includes Young Adult fiction, various boardgames, Picture Books, and Educational reading!

      It's great to see parents, children and families discovering new titles together.

      Another fun highlight of the Rose room: the Pets section. SO many cute books about animals!

      Head upstairs yet again, and you get to the second floor which has the Purple section (Sports, Health, Self-Improvement, Business, Mythology - an eclectic assortment of topics)...

      Pass by these various tempting sections to get to the Red Room.

      The Red Room features some hit topics like Photography, Automotive and Nature!

      Has anyone read SOUL RIDER by Carolyn Fox? Looks interesting!

      Last but not least - go up the stairs yet AGAIN and you arrive at the Pearl Room! This includes the legendary Rare Book Room.

      As well as other really cool books on Science, Technology, Math, Architecture and more. Recognize any titles below?

      (hint: it's SOONISh by Zach Weinersmith, whose Cake panel can be found here)!

      Need some more far-out titles? Powell's has you covered.

      There's even a gallery and events space.

      So that's the Powell's City of Books grand tour! I highly recommend you go to Portland to experience it for yourself. I considered myself highly self-controlled only walking out of there with a handful of books. Between the stellar staff recommendations and inspired browsing, you'll find there's so much to discover!

    • Amazing, I'd have thought the advent of e-books and powerful online searching for topics, titles and authors, would have made brick and mortar bookstores nearly obsolete. And I would be wrong it seems, since a place like that ought to have certain appeal, that reminds us books aren't merely just information and literary content, perhaps the most appreciated aspects are that they are objects of art with a material texture which create a space and certain ambiance for people to come together.

    • It's all about that serendipity of meeting others, that human connection. The knowledgeable staff at Powell's are the best part! I saw so many of them helping other visitors - whether it was a parent asking for guidance on the best book to pick for their child, or others looking up a specific title or author. Each section had handwritten recommendation cards from staffers encouraging you to give a chance to an author or a book you might not have picked up ordinarily - something that I think is key! It's a human-recommendation engine.

    • when I was in the book business back in the day and Amazon was exploding, Apple was coming out with electronic books, Amazon with Kindle, and independent bookstores were closing, I thought Mike Powell had no chance.

      The one thing he had was used books, and they have much higher margins. I thought maybe that would give them a glimmer of hope. You probably want to see used books and they can often be unique to you.

      Now look at them. Four locations and apparently a thriving used book business too.

    • I admire this, really, as much as am not a bibliophile per se these days. Because of having to deal with too many while saving time, I always craved this instant searching and now enjoy technical books preponderantly in e-book and searchable format. Well, maybe I will be planning to change that in a not too distant future.. for the literary aspects of whatever other reading I do.