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Powell's City of Books

1005 W Burnside St, Portland, Oregon 97209 USA

4,667 Reviews
$$
Reasonable
Open Now
Wed 10a-9p
  • Independent
  • Credit Cards
    Accepted
  • Wheelchair
    Accessible
  • Public
    Restrooms
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Learn more about this business on Yelp.

“The largest Independent Bookstore”

From humble storefront beginnings in 1971 on a derelict corner of northwest Portland, Oregon, Powell's Books has grown into one of the world's great bookstores, with five locations in the Portland metropolitan area, and one of the book world's most successful dot-coms, serving customers worldwide. Powell's roots began in Chicago, where Michael Powell, as a University of Chicago graduate student, opened his first bookstore in 1970. Encouraged by friends and professors, including novelist Saul Bellow, Michael borrowed $3,000 to assume a lease on a bookstore. The venture proved so successful that he managed to repay the loan within two months. Michael's father Walter, a retired painting contractor, worked one summer with Michael in the Chicago store. He so enjoyed his experience that upon returning to Portland he opened his own used bookstore. Walter swamped his original location by buying every marketable used book that came through the door, finally pushing the whole operation into a former car dealership. The old car dealership has undergone many transformations, and Powell's today looks little as it did when Walter opened his shop in the early '70s. Michael joined Walter in 1979, creating a bookstore with a unique recipe that, though viewed as unorthodox, worked: Used and new, hardcover and paperback, all on the same shelf, open 365 days a year and staffed by knowledgeable and dedicated book lovers. Michael says, "In the used book world, mixing paperbacks and hardbacks was not so much of a stretch, but when my dad had the idea of bringing in new books too, I had no sympathy. Used and new on the same shelf? It seemed crazy." However, Michael concludes, combining books "had synergy way beyond what we expected. If you put all the new books in one store and all the used books in another, each wouldn't get half the total business — they drive each other." Six stores and several expansions later, Powell's went online in 1994, and experienced immediate success. Within two years, Powell's entire inventory was listed on the web.

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Photo of Zander C.

Reviewed by
Zander C.

there was books here. a lot of lot books, i could not comprehend. im sad i didn't see the book "SHREK!" here but its okay. also when i went there was an employee named miachel c and he was cool. Read more

Photo of Lacy K.

Reviewed by
Lacy K.

The most beautiful sight for a book lover Powell's City of Books in Portland, OR, is aptly named as it covers one whole city block in the Pearl District. It is the largest used and new bookstore... Read more

Photo of Melissa M.

Reviewed by
Melissa M.

This book store is huge. There's a bunch of rooms in the store and I maybe only browsed through 3 of them. Definitely could've spent hours here. Everything was labeled and organized. It made... Read more

Powell's City of Books

1005 W Burnside St
Portland, Oregon
97209 USA
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Hours

Open now until 9:00 pm
  • Sun - Sat: 10:00 am - 9:00 pm

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    Parking
  • Unavailable
    Pets Allowed
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    Restrooms
  • Unknown
    Wifi
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    Wheelchair Accessible
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    Credit Cards Accepted
  • Unavailable
    Outdoor Seating
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