Saturday, September 22, 2007
The Marquee Says It All
I bought my first books at Powell's in June, 2004, when Mama and I first came to visit my sons, Lamont and Leland. I rode the No. 20 bus after walking over to Burnside from the Benson Hotel, my rolling suitcase in hand. Those books about Eudora Welty and Willie Morris flew home to Mississippi with me on Southwest Airlines. In June, 2006, they rode 2,500 miles back to Portland, in the back of the UHaul truck Leland drove. Right now they're on my 85x32-inch, three-shelf, unfinished pine bookcase in our top floor apartment in Portland's Alphabet District, eleven blocks from where I found them in 2004. About the bookcase, Mama just asked me, "Is that your library?" Brilliant lady.
At www.powells.com, you can find out all sorts of info about Powell's, including the store in the photograph, the City of Books. It takes up the entire city block, bordered by NW 10th and 11th Avenues to the east and west, W. Burnside and NW Couch Streets on the south and north. You're looking at the corner of 10th and Burnside here in the photo I took after work yesterday.
I can't resist giving you a few tidbits of information:
Powell's City of Books is a book lover's paradise, the largest used and new bookstore in the world. Located in downtown Portland, Oregon and occupying an entire city block, the City stocks more than a million new and used books. Nine color coded rooms house over 3,500 different sections, offering something for every interest, including an incredible selection of out-of-print and hard-to-find titles. ... Every day at our buyers' counter in the Orange Room, we purchase thousands of used books from the public. Powell's purchases special collections, libraries, and bookstore inventories as well.
A few facts about the City of Books:
68,000 square feet packed with books
we buy 3,000 used books over the counter every day
approximately 3,000 people walk in and buy something every day
another 3,000 people just browse and drink coffee
our parking garage provides space for 40 cars (ok, so there are bigger parking garages)
we stock 122 major subject areas and more than 3,500 subsections
you'll find more than 1,000,000 volumes on our shelves
approximately 80,000 book lovers browse the City's shelves every day, in Portland and via the Internet. So is our mother ship the world's largest bookstore? Heck, it may be bigger than your whole town.