Portland, OR

5 Portland bookstores to visit for "Book Lover's Day" that are not Powell's

Rose Bak

Powell's is awesome, but there are other ways to support local businesses in Portland.

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Photo by Eliott Reyna on Unsplash

August 9th is National Book Lover's Day, a holiday that celebrates all things books. While many of us have succumbed to technology and do most of our reading on e-readers, there is still something special about a real live book. The smell of the paper. The sensation of thumbing through the pages. The heft of a book in your hand.

When you talk about books in Portland, there's a good chance that Powell's will come up. The "City of Books" has been a Portland icon for fifty years. Powell's flagship store on West Burnside is a book lover's paradise, with room after room of reading goodness.

Powell's is also where all the tourists go. Literary-minded Portlanders who are "in the know" are often found at some of Portland's more off-beat and off-the-beaten-track bookstores. So if you're looking for something different, try one of these great options.

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Photo courtesy of Passages Bookstore

Passages Bookshop

If you're looking for something obscure, Passages Bookshop is a treasure trove of rare and unusual books. As they say on their webpage:

We specialize in modern poetry, literature, and avant-garde art, book arts, fine printing, and artist's books; signed and inscribed copies and limited editions; prints, photographs, broadsides, and occasionally paintings and sculpture, and rare and unusual books in related fields.

Passages is a throwback to the old school small bookstores that used to be everywhere in the city.

Located at 1223 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Passages is currently open by appointment only due to the COVID pandemic. It's worth the trouble to make an appointment to have a safe browsing experience. Passages also purchases books for resale.

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Photo courtesy of Wallace Books

Wallace Books

Sellwood's Wallace Books is another great option for National Book Lover's Day.

Wallace Books sells a great variety of current best sellers and what they call quirky, hard-to-find out-of-print treasures! They also have an impressive array of books from diverse multicultural authors and translations of books you likely won't find elsewhere.

Wallace Books is a great neighborhood bookstore with friendly and helpful staff.

Located at 7241 SE Milwaukie, in-store shopping is available daily from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.

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Photo courtesy of Broadway Books

Broadway Books

Another Portland treasure is Broadway Books. Since 1992 Broadway Books has been not only offering a variety of books but also creating a community of authors and readers. While activities have slowed down during the pandemic, Broadway Books prides itself on creating an interactive reading environment and supporting local authors.

In addition to new books, Broadway Books offers used books, greeting cards, puzzles, gifts, and more. Broadway Books is a great place to find a new book or get a gift for the book lover in your life.

Located at 1714 NE Broadway, Broadway Books offers both in-person shopping and curbside pick-up. They are open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Photo courtesy of Annie Bloom's Books

Annie Bloom's Books

If you're on the west side of Portland, head on over to Annie Bloom's Books. Another Portland book lover's institution, Annie Bloom's Books has been a fixture in the Multnomah Village neighborhood since 1978.

The shop specializes in offering a range of new books including fiction, children/young adult, travel, current events, and cooking. As their webpage says:

You can find it all here at Annie Bloom's, including magazines, art supplies, puzzles, and a fabulous selection of cards. And, for you bargain hunters out there, we are constantly bringing in new stacks of amazing sale books. Our main emphasis is on customer service. We want to make your browsing experience a pleasure. And, of course, we want to help you find what you're looking for. If we don't have your book in stock, we can usually get it for you in just a few days. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff awaits you.

Annie Bloom's Books is located at 7834 SW Capitol Highway. They are open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

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Photo courtesy of New Renaissance Books

New Renaissance Books

If your reading tastes tend to be on the metaphysical side, you're going to love New Renaissance Books. Located in a renovated Victorian at NW 23rd & Pettygrove, New Renaissance has a wide supply of books, candles, clothing, cards, journals, tarot cards, music, and metaphysical supplies.

New Renaissance also offers a wide variety of classes and seminars, and intuitive readings including tarot, psychics, Shamanic healing, reiki, astrology, and more. Be sure to check out their website for a full list of events and available practitioners.

New Renaissance is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. They're closed Wednesdays.

Happy reading Portland!

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Rose Bak is a freelance writer who lives in Portland, Oregon with her family and special needs dogs. She writes on a variety of topics including local news, homelessness, poverty, relationships, yoga, and aging. She is also a published author of romantic fiction. For more of Rose's work, visit her website at rosebakenterprises.com or follow her on social media @AuthorRoseBak.

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