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Back in 1994 when Amazon was just a river... in a time when the public at large thought the World Wide Web was a missile defense shield and gourmet coffee was a cup of joe with flavored creamer... a little dream of online bookselling became an unlikely reality.
For the past 15 years, Powells.com has offered the combined inventory of all Powell's stores and warehouses, used and new books side-by-side (over 4 million books in all), along with exclusive author interviews and essays and book reviews from internationally respected sources.
15 Things That Make Us Powells.com
In-Store Pickup might be just what you've been looking for. (It also may appeal to those of you who would rather fork over a kidney than pay shipping charges. There is no shame in this.)
It's easy. While cruising through our online checkout, select the In-Store Pickup option on the shipping address page, and choose the Powell's location where you'd like to grab your order. We'll send all of your books to your locale of choice and send you an email when they've arrived and are ready for you. Bingo. No shipping charges. No hassle. No kidney donation required.
Review-a-Day, and seven days a week we'll email you a different book review from a rotating roster of reputable sources, which include Harper's magazine, the Nation, American Scientist, Ms., and others plus, contributions from our staff here at Powell's. And it's free! So go ahead, be impressive. It'll be our little secret.
Well, Powells.com has the grown-up equivalent, in book form. Fork over $1, and we'll send you a surprise Science Fiction or Mystery "mystery" title! By which author, you ask? We can't say. What does the cover look like? We're not going to tell you that, either. Oooooh, the suspense-induced glee!
But the unknowns don't stop there. We also offer Craft Project Books for the innovative among us who realize that some books aren't just for reading... but are also for cutting and shellacking and general creative merriment.
We promise, we're not even going to hint at what you'll be getting. You'll thank us for it later.
Who is it?
It's the Internet.
What do you want?
To tell you that Powells.com just got a used copy of that book you've had your eye on.
This is pretty much how it works. If there's a book you're after, but you want to hold off until a used copy is available, we can help make that happen. Simply visit the product page of the lucky book in question, and click on the "Used Book Alert" icon underneath the "Add to Cart" box. When a used copy becomes available, we'll send you an email. All you have to do is pounce on it before someone else gets their mitts on your sweet reward. Which you will do. Because you're lightning fast. And we believe in you.
In an age inundated with noise, we value the ability to cut straight to the point, which is why we started our Subject Newsletters. We offer finely tailored mailings that'll keep you abreast of new releases, and feature original author content, recently arrived used books, deals, and news all within the subjects you really care about. It's like we specifically had you, and you alone, in mind when we created the mailing... only not so stalker-ish.
Every week the team here at Powells.com gathers and puts newly released titles to the test, sending them through a brutal gauntlet of criticism, not unlike something you might see on Survivor: Beirut. After hours of heated discussions over everything from plot structure to cover art (please, no feet), those with only the most merit rise to the top and are deemed New Favorites. And then we discount them 30%. Booyah!
Powell's Books blog in 2005.
Besides giving us some serious Internet street cred, it's a great place to let authors communicate (almost) directly with customers. They guest blog for us (for a week at a time), write original essays exclusively for Powells.com, and even let us interview them now and again we've had the pleasure of conversing with Stephen King, Margaret Atwood, and Tracy Kidder, just to name a few.
As if that weren't enough, we also feature Book News from the inimitable Brockman, our witty if slightly unhinged correspondent. He calls it like he sees it, folks.
Because books, at their root, are about starting a conversation, bookselling should be, too.
signed editions available to you, on Powells.com. Right now, for instance, you can get signed books by Michael Chabon, Chelsea Cain, and Diane Ackerman (just to name a few). Or, see if your favorite author will be swinging by soon, and preorder a signed copy of his or her new book.
If we can't bring your favorite author to your doorstep (which we used to do but all those restraining orders made it increasingly difficult), we think the second best thing is to offer these special, collectible editions of their books, at no extra charge. Is there a better gift than a signed book? We're hard-pressed to find one. In an increasingly digital world, some old-fashioned things, like pens and paper, never lose their luster.
our souvenirs are, well... really freaking awesome. We've got Powell's baby onesies, an assortment of sharp looking Ts, reusable shopping bags, pint glasses, stickers, Klean Kanteens, and custom Powell's foam fingers! That's a lie, we don't have the fingers. But we're certain we have something to please every lovely bibliophile on your list. Represent! And behold how often you'll get bumped up to first class, receive high fives from random strangers, and... oh my, where will you store all those anonymous love letters? (Results may vary. Except the high fives, we guarantee those.)
Not only are we extremely choosy about the titles we feature in the club, we make a conscious effort to pay special attention to independent publishers. And, we thought, while we're at it, why not include first or special editions, and have the authors sign them? We also stock every shipment with surprise goodies. We like surprises.
Indiespensable: The internet equivalent of us following you around, armed with a fancy edition of our favorite new book. I think we all can agree that subscribing is the better option.
No longer just for cyborgs, eBooks are now being used by regular, fleshy folks looking to get their literary fix. You've probably heard of an electronic reading contraption that starts with a K and rhymes with dwindle. What you might not know is that this is just one of many constantly evolving pieces of technology that allows you this magical reading experience.
That's right you've got options! Sony has a top-notch eBook device, as does Bookeen and BeBook, among others. Books are sold in a variety of digital formats. (Ones that aren't only available from that gigantic online retailer. Don't make me call it by name.) And, guess who peddles these digital bundles of joy? We do! We sell over 200,000 titles in four digital formats.
So, go ahead, embrace technology, while supporting your favorite, family-owned independent bookstore. Who knew the future would be so kind?
online bookselling tool: enter the ISBNS of the books you're looking to unload, and we'll give you a quote at the click of a mouse. If you like what you see, our Internet elves will materialize a postage label. All you have to do is print it, slap it on your package, and drop your books in the mail. We get the books, and issue you payment in the form of PayPal or Powells.com credit. And, just like that, you've sold your books to us. From your couch. In your bathrobe. Whatever floats your boat. We don't judge. (But your postal carrier might.)
Daily Dose: a hearty book recommendation from a fellow Powells.com customer, delivered right to your inbox.
And the best part? We give away $20 in Powells.com credit to the person whose recommendation we feature. Just leave a comment about an item on its product page and click the Daily Dose box to be entered into the pool of tastemakers.
Plus, if for some unknown reason the credit isn't claimed (Why? Flood? Plague? A river of molten lava? What could possibly be more important than nabbing free Powells.com credit?!?), we add $20 to the next day's prize, and keep doing so, until the pot is claimed.
So, don't let us keep you. Start commenting on your favorite books now, and prepare to be handsomely rewarded.
Wait! What's that you say? Powells.com offers free shipping anywhere in the United States, on both new and used books, if you spend just $25? Well, that's fantastic! You'll never have to wear more than your drawers ever again. Hmm... perhaps a new slogan is in order. Powells.com: A convincing argument against pants.
At any given time, Powell's offers over 1.5 million used books, and every day over 5,000 "new" used books are added to that inventory. You never have to deal with individual sellers your books will always come from one trusted source (us!). Plus, our buyers are sticklers on condition in most cases you'd be hard pressed to pick a used copy out of a line up.
So what are you waiting for? Peruse our used books you can even sign up to get email alerts on newly added titles in your favorite subjects and feel the magic that is recycled knowledge! (Or just save a load of money. Whichever.)