World’s largest bookshop!
POWELL’S CITY of BOOKS
Did you know that the world’s largest bookstore is Powell’s City of Books located in Portland Oregon and has an area of 7000 square meters? It occupies an entire block and holds over a million books. But to survive as an independent bookshop in a time of change in the industry requires both imagination and flexibility. The Powell’s happens to be in just Portland is perhaps no coincidence.
The bookshop is characterized by the same eco-utopian spirit of hipster series “Portlandia”. The bookstore’s motto “there are never too many books for our customers” are reflected in the crowded shelves that extends from floor to ceiling. To help customers find which section/compartment they are looking for, there are maps available in the area. Those who still get lost or lose their way can get a sticker with the text “I got lost in Powell’s.”
Between 2000 and 2007, over a thousand bookstores got shut down in the U.S. because of the competition from network bookstores, e-books and tablet devices. As an independent bookstore, Powell’s grappling not only with online trade, but also with the competition from major book chains. Everything with higher costs (employees’ health insurance, telephones and computers) also devours large parts of the profit. In order to increase turnover, it has the past few years taken on new strategies such as, selling gadgets (rucksacks, puzzles, games, mugs, t-shirts and annotation blocks). A different approach is an ambitious calendar with 700 author visits a year, writing classes, exhibitions and courses in local architecture and history. Six months ago, they purchased in a so-called “Espresso book machine” that can print out a book in less than ten minutes and has access to six million titles. It is also the ultimate tool for those who want to publish their own book.
Since 2009, it has in general been better for the independent bookstores in the United States.
Powell’s is open from 9-23 every day and is Portland’s largest tourist attraction. On average, the bookstore receives 8,000 visitors daily. It has seven bookstores which are all within Portland area and this is the biggest. It has been around for 40 years.
For more or further information, please check their website at: www.powells.com