Powell’s City of Books: The Greatest Independent Bookstore 42 years running

Jeffrey J. Jett, IIby Jeffrey J. Jett, II
Midwestern Student Representative, 2012-2013

I had the great pleasure of witnessing the amazing world of Powell’s City of Books in Portland, OR, last September, and I can comfortably say that this is one of THE places to go while on your adventure to the Sigma Tau Delta convention this year.

Powell's City of BooksPowell’s is only a half mile away from the convention hotel. From your first steps inside, you know this is a bookstore unlike any other, with a fascinating history and over one million books organized into 122 different subjects. It’s every English major’s dream! Powell’s takes up a full city block, and is four levels tall, with a cafe inside as well. The facade is humble enough, with a plain-looking “Powell’s City of Books” banner plastered to it, but when you step inside and see just how massive and enthralling this shop is, you won’t want to leave. You will have a blast looking around this shop, but you should set aside ample time to view all of the wonders inside.

Nebula Award Winners

Nebula Award winners

I was very taken with the sprawling nature of the Science Fiction section, and how intricate and detailed it was. One pillar had the Nebula Award winners for science fiction dating back to the first award winner, Frank Herbert, for his timeless classic, Dune. This shop also has the most complete and expansive graphic novels section I have ever witnessed in a bookstore. What impressed me most about this particular section was the wealth of titles available, some of which have been out of print for quite some time. This collection spills into the cafe area, which is impressive enough on its own, as it boasts a good variety of teas, coffees, baked treats and the like.

I was thoroughly impressed with my experience at Powell’s, and was fortunate enough to purchase my choices during their “happy hour,” where I received a complimentary pint glass of delicious grape soda (made fresh locally), to celebrate their 42nd year of business.

I implore you: If you are debating on whether or not to stop by Powell’s during your visit to Portland, debate no further. You will not find a more amazing or breathtaking bookstore anywhere else in the world. You can take my word for it.

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