No longer a Portland secret, Powell's has earned a reputation as a book lover's paradise. The flagship store, Powell's City of Books, occupies three floors of an entire city block. It stands as the largest independent bookstore in the world. Used and new books sit alongside each other in nine color-coded rooms, offering a unique book buying experience. Powell's City of Books also features:
- The Rare Book Room, which holds autographed first editions and other hard-to-find collectible books.
- The Basil Hallward Art Gallery, located in the Pearl Room, which features new showings each month.
- The Orange Room, where Powell's buys more than 3,000 used books each day.
- 68,000 square feet filled with books.
- 122 major subject areas, with more than 3,500 subsections in all.
- Over one million volumes on the shelves.
Powell's was formed in 1971 when William Powell decided to open a used bookstore at a humble location in northwest Portland. William had been inspired by a summer of work at his son Michael's Chicago bookstore. William began buying every used book he could find, and eventually moving the store to a former car dealership. Michael joined his father in 1979, and Powell's has been growing ever since. They pride themselves on a book buying experience guided by informed, helpful employees.
In addition to the flagship store, Powell's operates five other Portland stores and one in nearby Beaverton, Oregon. Amongst the Portland stores are three specialty bookstores: Powell's Technical Books, Powell's Books for Cooks and Gardeners, and Powell's Travel Store. Powell's also operates powells.com, which has been providing easy access to this vast book inventory (five warehouses serve the stores) since 1994.
Photo courtesy of Powell's Books.