Visiting Portland, Oregon – Powell’s City of Books

The Burnside entrance of Powell's City of Books in Portland, Oregon
The Burnside entrance of Powell’s City of Books in Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon is one of the most literate cities in the US. You see people reading everywhere here. Lounging under the shades of big trees with a book in their hands and a warm drink in another. A girl at Townshend’s Tea Company in Alberta – a hip Northeast area of PDX – has with her a mini-sized electronic book while taking orders from customers.

And the weather here in Portland perhaps contributes to the reading factors. It is always cool and cold and raining a lot. Even when it is sunny, it is still pretty much unpredictable. One minute the sky is clear and blue, another the clouds float in and the precipitation appears to suddenly increase. And that’s just the best environment to cozy up with a good read!

Watch our video about Powell’s City of Books – Portland’s pride of being one of the largest independent bookstores in the US.

In a town riddled with independent everything – from restaurants and shops to hotels and theatres and more, an independent bookstore seems to be only natural. Powell’s has been around for 42 years and it has been ‘the’ bookstore not only for Portlanders but also for anyone visiting. Located just off the hip area of West-end, Powell’s occupies an entire city block and it has multi-stories too. The sections/genres are divided into colour-coded rooms with their book numbers in the millions. Here, new and used book of the same titles are stacked together on the same shelves – a unique formula that makes this place popular until now. I found the sought-after Graham Greene’s titles right here at Powell’s and they made my best souvenirs ever on this trip. If you look for classics, hard-to-finds, books by independent publishers, rare books and whatever titles you couldn’t find elsewhere, chances are that you might find those at Powell’s.

Powell’s is also a community for readers and writers. They regularly hold reading sessions of authors with new releases. When I was there, Karen Karbo was reading from her latest book, ‘Julia Child Rules: Lessons on Savoring Life,’ and it was great fun to be there. Bookstore is still a bookstore, it is a community for like-minded people. Selections here are also made by avid readers who are Powell’s staff themselves. And that’s why all books here seem to be so interesting. We might now be on the fast lane towards digital reading (this blog certainly one of them), but when it comes to a real reading comfort, nothing beats the old charms of a real book. Flipping a page always renders a good scent of bookish memory. ^^

Powell’s has another branch dedicated for science-related book nearby its main store, and four branches in Portland and one at the airport. They also ship worldwide through their online store. I personally like to check their ‘Staff Picks’ section. For more information about Powell’s, click here.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s