I finally managed to make it to the infamous Powell’s in Portland, known as the largest independent bookstore in the world, the mecca of books in the Pacific Northwest and by far one of the coolest bookstores I have visited. The Portland staple even has an entire floor dedicated to science fiction and fantasy (seen below after the jump).
This is a welcome change from the standard Barnes & Noble template that relegates the two genres to sections usually shoved onto the second floor next to the bathrooms and freight elevator. An area, much like a low tide cave, that only has a small window of accessibility in a given day when enough introverted middle schoolers reading manga on the floor clear out and open passage through the narrow connecting aisle. Hasn’t the success of Game of Thrones at least bought speculative fiction some first floor real estate? Or at least placement that doesn’t require you to harass the one Barnes & Noble employee you can actually find (which is usually a barista that only returns blank stares) just to get a ballpark location?
Powell’s not only boasts a vast collection of new and used books, but if on a whim you are inspired to print your own book, they can do that for you too on their printing press and print it out right in front of you. Perhaps if they’re nice enough, they might even add you to the stacks. Talk about a one-stop shop.
In addition, they have a fairly solid outcropping of Tolkien where you can pick up some of the older Hobbit and LOTR collector covers, if say you don’t want your memorabilia littered with “As Seen In Theaters” stickers.
They also feature a healthy collection of Bradbury to round out their impressive collection. It was cool to see Shadow Show tucked in there where it belongs. Either way, if you’re in Portland and need a good book, make sure to stop by and visit Powell’s. If you’re smart, you can read the book you bought while waiting in line at Voodoo.