Powell's Books

Powell's Books is a Portland Oregon institution. Found in the vibrant Pearl District, the bookstore's main branch occupies an entire city block and boasts the better part of a million books on the shelves at any given time. The books at Powell's Book Store in Portland are spread out over three spacious floors, and thankfully, maps are available to direct visitors to the many different areas of the store. Visitors often linger longer than expected at Powell's Books, thanks to the impressive collection and the scale of the place. Even more books are on offer at the chain's other establishments. Four other branches can be found around Portland, and there is also a satellite center in the nearby suburb of Beaverton.

Powell's Books got its start in Portland in the early 1970s. The founder, Walter Powell, was inspired to open the store by the success that his son Michael had with a similar endeavor in Chicago. As Powell's grew, Michael joined his father in Portland, and together, the two essentially revolutionized the book-selling business. Instead of separating new books from used ones, the father and son pair decided to shelf all of their books together. Hardcovers were also shelved with paperbacks, and the decision was eventually made to keep the store open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. According to Michael Powell, putting used and new books on the same shelf at the now iconic Portland Oregon book store "had synergy way beyond what we expected." The store became a huge success in a short amount of time, and it continues to be one of the most beloved Portland attractions.

The main Powell's Book Store in Portland Oregon is known as Powell's City of Books, and you might be interested to know that it claims to be the largest independent new and used bookstore in the world. The retail floor space tops out at around 70,000 square feet, and since plans to expand are seemingly always on the back burner, this famed Portland Oregon book store is only likely to get bigger. Visitors can pick up a helpful store map upon entering, which is recommended if you want to successfully find that specific book on Taoism or a rare children's book. Free up at least an hour if you really want to get immersed. An hour isn't enough time for many visitors, and should you plan on staying for a while, the onsite café can be an ideal place to break and refuel for another round of browsing. You might also visit one of the nearby restaurants and return to the store if you prefer. There are plenty of good eateries close by.

When reading enthusiasts aren't spending time at the main Powell's Book Store in Portland, they can consider venturing over to the satellite stores. One of these stores, Powell's Books at PDX, can be found at the Portland International Airport. The others are Powell's Technical Books and Powell's Books for Home and Garden. The former can be found at 33 NW Park Avenue, while the latter is located at 3747 SE Hawthorne Boulevard. The main Powell's Portland Oregon book store address is 1005 W. Burnside St. This puts it right on the edge of the downtown district.

Image: Thomas Hawk (flickr)

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