Sure, you could order online from this store, but you would miss seeing the largest independent bookstore in the United ... More
Powell's City of Books
Sure, you could order online from this store, but you would miss seeing the largest independent bookstore in the United States. With 1.5 million books in 3,500 different sections, this shop covers a city block and offers new, used, rare and out-of-print books. Open every day of the year, this is the place many Portlanders consider their spiritual home. Many come to browse, get out of the rain, drink coffee in the coffee shop and pontificate. Authors read their works several evenings a week.
Powell's Books offers the sort of bookstore experience a lover of bookstores hopes to find, what with the excellent selection, informed staff and good history as a community business that concerns itself with the business of the community. Cheers!
For book lovers, Powell's is one of the best experiences around. It is laid out in a crazy pattern, but it is well-labeled, so you can decide whether to march to your favorite section or wander aimlessly. I'd recommend a little of both.
Prices (coming from the SF Bay Area) are very reasonable and even better considering there is no sales tax. We bought dozens of books, then spilled them out on the big tables in the coffee shop and browsed through them.
No trip to Portland should skip Powell's - it's almost worth the trip all by itself.
If you love books of any kind, sitting in a cafe, or unusually large stores, this is the place for you. For being a free stop on a trip, it's definitely worth it. I've been to Powell's multiple times, and have always enjoyed looking through the various rooms of books.
I'll admit, from the outside, Powell's doesn't look like much. In fact, it doesn't even look that big. However, once you're inside, you find out why the rooms are color-coordinated, and a number of maps can be found all around the store.
I would give this store a minimum of 1 hour to look through (unless you really just don't like books...in which case, why go at all?) However, I've easily spent multiple hours here.
The best part is, if not everyone in your group likes books, there are tons of other stores within easy walking distance, as well as restaurants, so this store could also serve as a meet-up point while people are looking inside of it.
The staff at Powell's are rude, condenscending, and unfriendly.
On 4/18/06 a person accidently dropped a pen on the counter at a cashier station and it bounced. Then their credit card didn't clear on first pass (account temporarily closed due to travel status). The cashier went to the manager and stated that the customer had sworn at and threatened her -- the manager ejected the customer when nothing happened. This entire episode was observed by numerous other customers.
What happened to the nice, comfortable environment at Powell's? From now on I vote with my wallet and go elsewhere.
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