Vacation in Oregon: Powell’s bookstore

OK, I’m in Portland, Oregon right now, which is the reason for the lack of posts from me lately. I could go on about the horrible delays getting here through Chicago on friday or how the airline lost our luggage, but all is soothed by going to bookstores.

Powell’s, the largest independent bookseller in the U.S, was one of my first stops here in Portland – this is the Powell’s City of Books location. I will not lie, my heart did beat faster when I saw the Powell’s sign. It’s like falling in love. It takes over a whole city block, has 9 (big) rooms on 4 floors. THERE IS A MAP for goodness sakes. And a few information booths throughout the store which I suspect is for all those people who get lost. I spent a few hours in here, happy as a clam on Saturday and again today. It’s in walking distance of my hotel. I’ve been really good though and haven’t bought much. Just 2 books, 2 book bags, and a t-shirt. I also picked up free stuff – Powell’s postcard, sticker, bookmark, newsletter, and map. I have plenty of time to go back (planning to get another t-shirt). If you spend $50 or more, they will ship the books back for you for free, which is good if you don’t want to bring it back in your luggage.


There’s a mix of new and used books all on the same shelves. The prices for used look like they’re around about 60% of new books. The sf and fantasy sections are quite awesome (4+ big rows next to the horror section which was about a row and a half) and I noticed that romance had paranormal romances split into a separate series of shelves, but I thought for such a popular genre, the romance section was pretty small (2 rows).

There’s a post in the “Gold Room” (genre fiction room) which has autographs of science fiction, fantasy, and horror authors who have visited Powell’s. I took pictures of all sides (plus a couple of close ups – Neil Gaiman , Robin Hobb and Elizabeth Moon):

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3 thoughts on “Vacation in Oregon: Powell’s bookstore

  1. Ohhh…I LOVE Powell’s Books! My husband and I spent a whole day exploring it three years ago. I think I drooled all over the floor.

    Afterward, we had Tang-flavored donuts at Voodoo Donuts, which is a few blocks away. Yum! 🙂

  2. That is awesome, because Voodoo Donuts + Powell’s were the two things I had to do. I tried the maple & bacon one, the apple fritter, memphis mafia and dirty bastard (I think that was the name) – delicious.

    Also I went to Powell’s AGAIN today – Technical Books one. Still bought something. 🙂

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