Summer Reading B2G1 Free

Powell's in the Press

Contact: Jon Guetschow
Director of Used Book Buying,
Powell's Books
503-228-4651 ext. 4286

Recession Buster: Readers Selling Books to Powell's in Record Numbers

Get cash or trade online from anywhere in the United States

February 25, 2009, Portland, OR—It seems that almost everyone is looking for creative ways to stretch a dollar during this economic downturn: "staycations," home-cooked meals, and do-it-yourself projects are all the rage. If the booming business is any indication, many avid readers would add another item to that list: the online book-buying program at (

Powell's Books has purchased used books from its customers for more than 30 years, but never in its history has the iconic Oregon business matched the volume of the last six months.  Used book buying counters are seeing a 15% increase in the number of book sellers, a jump that occurred just after the first major stock market tumble in September 2008.

Powell's online book buying program has grown 40% since January when the company introduced payment via PayPal, offering cash to sellers (as an alternative to store credit).  Readers that need the extra money or are simply trying to downsize their book collections have responded.

"We're thrilled to introduce PayPal as a cash payment option for folks selling us their books," says Jon Guetschow, Director of Used Books for Powell's. "Just as the people of Portland have been selling us their books to take the edge off the recession — with more books or with cash — now anyone around the country can do the same."

A lot of people, it seems, have books around the house that overflow their shelves, pile on tables, or hide away in basement and attic boxes.  The online buying service at has proved a convenient way to turn those books into cash.

The online tool, itself, is simple.  Sellers gather their books, visit, and enter the ISBNs from each title into the field provided.  Within a few seconds, the seller has a bid for each book Powell's will purchase.  Once the bid is accepted by the seller, Powell's provides a postage-paid shipping label.

"We make it as easy as possible," explains Guetschow. "Simply print the label and the shipping charge is on us."

For more information about selling books to Powell's — online, in person, or by special arrangement — visit

About Powell's Books and
Powell's is an independent bookseller serving the Portland, Oregon, area since 1971, with four general bookstores and two specialty stores. Its flagship store takes up an entire city block, offering 68,000 square feet of used, new, rare, and out-of-print books. offers the combined inventory of its six retail locations and five warehouses — approximately four million books in all. The site features exclusive author interviews and essays, as well as a stable of internationally respected book reviewers and content partners.

  • back to top


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