Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader


For years I’ve heard about Portland’s Powell’s Bookstore. And people were amazed I hadn’t been or even knew of it’s existence. 

I can now say I’ve been Ka-Powelled after today. Ka-pow like being knocked out. Being booked up takes on new meaning. 

Doing my Pacific Northwest summer tour usually includes a dabble into Portland, but not too deeply since I am long out of practice of navigating city blocks and rush hour traffic.

Today I jumped in, with Siri’s help, and found my way into the heart of Portland. With my bag of books I and a three block walk, because city parking is a grab-it-when-you -see-a-spot, I wandered into the used book line.

And waited. There were four buyers, with seven sellers ahead of me (one guy had SIX boxes on a handtruck!?!), and more lining up behind me. Who says people don’t read anymore? 

After obtaining my store credit voucher I went shopping. The store was amazingly flush with customers. This place is like a Disneyland for bibliophiles. If you have yet to visit or are perhaps wondering–here are some Powell’s facts courtesy of Wikipedia (as with image):

  • Considered to be the world’s largest independent bookstore
  •  Buys around 3,000 used books a day
  • The building takes up a full city block.
  • The business started with a Powell and is still under ownership of a Powell.
  • Founded in 1971.
  • Five locations in Oregon.
  • Two million book inventory.
  • Employer of 530+ people.
  • Considered to be one of Portland’s top attractions.

Okay–reality factor. How many cities  can name a bookstore as a tourist attraction?

Feeling rather overwhelmed with all the choices, people,and sheer amazingness of it all, I finally    managed to use most of my store credit and stagger out an hour and a half later with five books in hand. I barely explored the offerings since there was too much to see. My brain froze at the totality of it all. Books, books, books. It was ever so lovely.

Anyone else been Powelled? 

Single Post Navigation

17 thoughts on “Ka-Powell’s

  1. YES! I’d heard of Powell’s for years but never went until my husband and I decided to go to Portland for our mini-honeymoon. It was mind-blowing! We were in Portland for 3 days and went to Powell’s every day. I brought home so many books. Every time I went, it was like a new store! I’m itching to get back!

  2. I was in Portland for a conference several years ago, and didn’t have much spare time. But I managed to get to Powell’s one evening, and limited myself to the poetry section. I escaped after purchasing only a small stack of books. I’m ready for a return engagement, with unlimited time!

  3. I’ve never been Ka-Powelled, but it sounds a bit like the literary answer to Ikea. But even better, regardless if they have no meatballs. Return visit?

  4. I go every year with a friend. We take personal days from work on a Friday and spend the entire day there. Always park in their garage, if you spend a reasonable amount you can park for free…free as in, “I spent $100 on books.”

    • I didn’t know about the garage until after I parked two blocks away. As much as I love books I don’t think I would spend quite that much. It would be easy to do though!

  5. If I may quote Liz Lemon: I want to go to there.

  6. I really wish to make it there one day, it will be awesome to spend days just swimming around in a happy haze picking up everything at least once. Impressive statistics, it is wonderful to see people still buying in shops as well.

Comments, anyone?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: