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Special Events | Blog | Let's Hear from You | Join the Conversation | #41years | Looking Back

Thank you for your support for over four decades! Clearly, we have a lot to celebrate...

We're excited to invite you to join in our 41st-anniversary festivities — now through the end of the year! Special author events, parties, sweepstakes... We've got a lot planned, in stores and online. Stay tuned so you don't miss any of the fun!

November 4, 3-6 p.m.
Cedar Hills Open House

Join us for an afternoon party at our Beaverton store. There will be activities for kids, games for adults, refreshments, surprises, and much more! See our revamped store and join us for the Sci-Fi Authorfest VI! Click here for all the details.

Ann Patchett: IMG Ann Patchett: The Impulse Buy

Most bookstores tuck authors away in dismal backrooms or cluttered offices before they read in an effort to: A) protect the author from getting mobbed too early, or B) protect the author from the... Continue »

Kevin Wilson: IMG Kevin Wilson: The Antidote for Small Crowds at a Reading

I came to Powell's for the first time fresh off a string of readings where very, very few people came. It was not a surprising occurrence. I am not a famous writer. I did not know anyone on the West... Continue »

Aimee Bender: IMG Aimee Bender: A Letter to an Old Friend

Dear Powell's, Oh, beautiful City of Books, big, full building that is not oppressive but inviting, not dusty but light filled, not faded but brightly colored, not intimidating but warm. The Pearl... Continue »

See more from 'Powells Anniversary' »

    Johnny Henschel March 18, 2013
    I have relatives in Portland and when ever I visit, I have always found time to enjoy your downtown store. You have been a gold mine of books and your state has no sales tax. Awesome thanks
    Magoon November 5, 2012
    My first few trips to Powell's were less than pleasant; It was so big and overwhelming, I would completely panic and (literally) run away. After the initial panic, I learned to walk into Powell's with my target in mind. But always have extra time - there is no such things as "I'm just going to run into Powell's real quick...."

    Hopefully, I'll be able to return to my beloved city and the best bookstore ever soon!
    Mig November 3, 2012
    My first trip to Powell's was in 1980. For someone who had been thrilled to get a library card in their own name when they were five years old Powell's was a simply amazing. Since then I've been back many times. And like all the other locals, we love taking visitors to Powell's. They get to buy books and we get to experience that 'first time' again, if only vicariously.
    Anna November 1, 2012
    I have only been to Powell's once, but that was all it took. I made sure to put myself on the mailing list, and one fine day I won in merchandise! I bought mostly books, including spendy text books I needed at the time. I remember just loving standing on the first floor and looking up the stairs, knowing that if I wanted a book, any book, it was most likely there.
    Hilda October 30, 2012
    My first trip to Powell's was a present from my aunt for my 13th birthday.

    Though I don't get there often, I stay in touch through the Daily Dose and the website. Just knowing a place like Powell's exists makes the world a happier place for me.
    Rose McClure October 29, 2012
    I discovered Powell's online by accident several years ago. I ordered some books and later lost the site when my computer crashed. Fast forward to last year when someone on Pinterest posted Powell's as a great book source. I pinned it for future reference. Forward again to the end of September. My sister-in-law had a business meeting in Portland coming up and asked me to come along and we'd stay the week. I was torn....I would be leaving my husband behind and spending my birthday without him. When I found out Portland is called The Rose City, I thought that might be a sign I should go. Then someone AGAIN posted Powell's to Pinterest and I saw it...and I knew that was my sign. I needed to go to Portland. It was a great trip filled with amazing sights and scenery, but the absolute best thing was spending my 65th birthday at Powell's and buying a book from the Expresso Book Machine, as well as many from the stacks. I wish Indiana wasn't so far away, but I'm sure I'll be back. Love, love, love Powell's.
    Beth Perry October 15, 2012
    Going to Powell's is on my top 20 "bucket list"..Unfortunatly, the farthest west I have ever been is Bismark,ND
    MOLLIE RINEHART October 14, 2012
    Wanda October 11, 2012
    Everyone should have a happy place - somewhere you can go and the time slips away from you because you're so engrossed and content with your surroundings. Powell's is my happy place!
    maana October 11, 2012
    i am one who likes to read and a friend of mine tought me powell`s is the place to be.
    Brandon October 8, 2012
    I grew up in SW Portland. As a kid, Powell's, for me, was the location in Beaverton. I remember being mystified by the "Powell's: City of Book" poster that once hung behind the cash register. You probably know the one. It was all greys and blues and featured cars sliding past rows of buildings constructed out of hardbound tomes. It wasn't until I was in the eighth grade that I learned that there was more than one location. "You've never been to the store *downtown*?" a particularly pedantic and condescending kid in my social studies class asked me one day. Soon thereafter, the borders of the area that I was free to roam on my own expanded beyond the limits of Multnomah Village and Gabriel Park. With a Tri-Met Student Pass in hand, I began sneaking off on the 1 line through Hillsdale and into downtown Portland, all the way to long gone establishments like D'Jangos Records, Route 66, Rocco's Pizza and the City of Books. I typically told my mother I was heading to the Hillsdale Library and no further. In those days, these afternoon trips seemed like reckless expeditions into the unknown. I wasn't five miles from home. I may as well have been canoeing up the Congo or blasting myself off to Mars; exploring the outer reaches, past the edges of all known maps. My heart would race and my naive adolescent mind would buzz with thoughts like "I'm gonna get killed by transients! Downtown Portland may as well Border Town in Beyond Thunderdome!"

    Back then, in the early '90s, the downtown Powell's was smaller than the existing incarnation. The Orange Room was where I spent most of my time, leafing through collections of Bloom County, Doonesbury and Calvin & Hobbes. My first paperback copies of books that wouldn't "change my life" but certainly "changed my head" were purchased here--- 1984, Catcher in the Rye, Naked Lunch, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, On the Road, Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas and a hardbound, first edition copy of Infinite Jest, which I stopped reading at page 250 after my 16 year-old brain proved too impatient and incapable of wrapping itself around Wallace's dense prose and SAS narrative. Since then, the City of Books has offered me refuge from plenty of rainy afternoons and its second-floor bathroom and its grout-y puns (The Grouts of Wrath, The Grout Gatsby, etc) over the urinals has served as a stinky oasis when I've downed too much Stumptown Coffee. I live overseas now but, during a trip to Portland last summer, my girlfriend and I rang up about worth of books at Powell's and paid a positively stupid amount of money to have them shipped 5,000 miles to the Old World. God bless you, Michael Powell.
    Dr. Archer October 7, 2012
    Thank you, for being here. You're just what I was looking for. I have so many books did not know what I was going to do with all of them. Hopefully there's more offers like this one. Just in case I can't sell all my book throgh Powell.
    Vicki Contente October 3, 2012
    I was in Portland for a teacher conference when one of my friends said, "let's head over to Powell's ". Well, little did I know what "book paradise" I was about to discover! Book, books and more glorious books! Old one, new ones arranged together! Wow, what a concept! Want to really know more about a subject? Want to see how thinking about a subject has changed over time? Want a place to sit and read/think about a subject? Want to be in a place filled with other folks who love to learn? Powell's"
    Mark Butterworth October 2, 2012
    I've been shopping at Powell's since 1977...need I say more?
    Rebecca Harcus-Duus September 29, 2012
    I live in Australia, where, for whatever reason, books are hard to buy. I heard of Powell's through the internet-grapevine: it was the place to be, the place to buy. Well, since that fateful day four years ago, I haven't looked back. In fact, my husband is arranging a nice little holiday for me, just so I can go to Portland, Oregon and sit in my favourite bookstore!!! See you in 2013. :D
    rik&joan September 26, 2012
    The brown and white 41 years of Powell's picture on your site should be a T-shirt to purchase.
    Susan September 17, 2012
    I will never move away from Portland...unless Powell's closes (furiously knocking on wood). It is my Temple.
    Birdie September 17, 2012
    I miss grumpy cat Fup, and the many stories about the red slide. My first job was helping scan books for two days at Powells Tech to prepare the store to sell books online in '94 or '95. I think I spent my whole paycheck on books! Probably should have asked if I could get paid in store credit!
    Steve Bebich September 12, 2012
    I am a retiree ILWU local 63 So. Cal. I was in Portland marching along side you folks while you were organizing,
    jhunelyn September 12, 2012
    I wish i could run in your place too. :-)
    d. September 11, 2012
    I was in Powell's and it was hard to leave. I'll be back d.
    Suzanne Darweesh September 10, 2012
    I always include a visit to Powell's whenever I'm in Portland.
    Donna September 5, 2012
    Powell's is the absolute best bookstore ever! Every visit to Oregon must include a trip to Powell's even though we've stayed in Eugene and Lincoln City. This past June we took our granddaughters from Eugene to Powell's, spent at least 3 hours there, and bought a ton of books. I think I could happily live in Powell's. There is no other bookstore like it!
    courtney September 4, 2012
    What is a writer without Powell's?
    nuhamin August 25, 2012
    I went on a first date with my husband, we took our engagement pictures there and just yesterday we brought our first born to powells. This place means so much to our little family :) Happy 41st and wish you many years of making people happy
    Mandy August 23, 2012
    I was in town for only a few days last January and visited Powell's 3 times. It's like crack for bibliophiles! Happy 41st!
    Donna from Battle Ground,WA August 22, 2012
    Powell's means so much to me that I took myself to your fabulous store for my own 50th birthday celebration to myself! I had breakfast & lunch & bought oodles of books!
    John August 20, 2012
    Congrats on over 4 decades! Powell's was one of my first babysitters. When we moved here in 1975 my Dad would drop me off in the Children's section while he hunted the shelves for treasues, and I could lose myself for hours in the smell of books and the wonderful stories therein. Over the years I took to hunting for my own treasures and Powell's has provided me constant enjoyment. Now my kids get to romp around the children's area for books of their own. Long live the book!
    Denice Drushella August 19, 2012
    If I had to be stranded somewhere Powells Books is my first choice...I've been buying my books from you for 30 plus years your store has given me hundreds of great reads...thank you from the bottom of my heart xoxo Denice
    Kim August 18, 2012
    I was already in love with Portland when I wandered into a bookstore with worn hardwood floors, warrens of stacks on odd levels, and a weathered gentleman who gave me a t-shirt that said "Powell's Loves Reedies". Sadly, that one got worn to shreds, but at least Powells has stuck around!
    Stephanie August 18, 2012
    I miss Fup.
    Blynda August 18, 2012
    Met my husband just across the street!
    Bruce Brown August 18, 2012
    For a person who is addicted to books like me, there is no better place on earth to live then Portland Oregon. If there is a book I want and have to have, You will have it or will get it. The books are the drug and Powells is my dealer. Thank you so much and I look forward to a long and healthy relationship with Powells Books for however long i live. Every memory I have is a special one. Winning the daily dose stands out as maybe one of of the finer moments. Keep up the great work.
    John Staub August 18, 2012
    When I first came to Portland during the summer of '76 it didn't take me long to discover Powells. I still remember Michael telling me the book I had picked out on carpentry was an excellent choice. He was very nice to everyone.

    Valerie August 18, 2012
    When I was picking a college in 2004 I settled on the University of Portland in large part because my family would always drive through Portland just to stop at Powells and I knew that no matter what college was like, Powells and I would have a great time. And we have had many many great times. I recently returned to Portland after graduate school in another city, and am so happy to be home, and to wander your aisles once again.
    Biblio Connection August 18, 2012
    Congrats and thank you for 41 years of 'awesomeness', From book lovers everywhere!
    Julie August 18, 2012
    Powell's is date night for us. We are in our 70s and love to browse and buy. We take some books home and enjoy drooling over the ones we don't bring home.
    Judy August 17, 2012
    41 years...wonderful!
    I haven't been very often but you are so great and it's wonderful that you have continued to be one of the best. Congratulations!

    Alyssa August 17, 2012
    Having grown up in Portland, I thought all bookstores were as amazing as Powell's. When I moved out of state for college, I was in for a rude awakening. Powell's played no small part in luring me back to the City of Roses. Thank you, Powell's, for being so awesome.
    Miranda Barton August 16, 2012
    When I told my parents I was leaving the SF Bay Area to move to Portland, I was expecting grief for moving so far away. What my mother said was, "Oh good, I can stay with you while I visit Powell's."
    Laura August 16, 2012
    When I first moved here from Oklahoma I literally thought I'd died and gone to heaven. They don't have bookstores like this in the Midwest, that's for sure. I've talked about Powell's so much to my mom and sent her so many of your amazing books, that in honor of my favorite place in the world, she named our cow Powell! Maybe he could be your new mascot?

The largest independent bookstore in the world, now three generations strong, was founded on a simple yet revolutionary idea: Give shoppers a true diversity of books by mixing new and used, hardcover and paperback, all on the same shelf, and surround them with knowledgeable staff members. Thanks to that formula, Powell's Books now comprises four full-service bookstores including the 68,000-square-foot City of Books, one specialty store, and a website offering over four million books and acclaimed original content.

Powell's began as a small storefront in northwest Portland in 1971. Walter Powell, a retired painting contractor, fell in love with bookselling after working at his son Michael's bookstore in Chicago one summer. Walter opened up his own shop in Portland and quickly bought up a massive supply of books. He later expanded into a former car dealership, which would become Powell's flagship Burnside location.

In 1979, Michael Powell joined his father, purchasing the store two years later. An active member of the civic and literary communities, Michael has played a prominent role in shaping Portland’s cultural scene, and his reach extends internationally within the book world. Due to his innovative leadership, Powell's has evolved into a book lover's paradise, boasting a packed schedule of literary events, a rich online experience, and a deeply devoted fan base.

Powell's remains a family-run operation to this day. Emily Powell, daughter of Michael, took leadership of the company in 2010 and continues to keep it at the forefront of innovative, passionate bookselling.

Special Events | Blog | Let's Hear from You | Join the Conversation | #41years | Looking Back

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Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at