Heaven In Used Book Form

by Katy on September 15, 2008 · 3 comments



I’m a very lucky Non-Consumer.

I live in Portland, Oregon. Home to Powells new and used books, the largest bookstore in the United States. An entire three story building encompassing a city block — all books.

My 12-year-old calls it Powell-zilla.


I took my sons to the downtown Portland Powells City of Books last week to spend gift cards they had been given for Christmas.

My eye was drawn to a sign up on a shelf:

“The book industry uses nearly 1.2 million tons of paper per year. The good news is that books can be read over and over again. Used books save trees.”

Wow. Did they know I was coming?

Buying used goods means one less thing to be manufactured.  

The Powells.com site even has a used book alert, so you can have an e-mail notification when a used copy of a certain book comes in. I utilized this function for holiday gifts last year, quite successfully I might add. (Being able to bring in books I already owned for store credit made this deal pretty fanflippin’-tastic!)

So thank you Powells book store. You make the majority of your profits selling new books, yet still encourage/shame us into used book sales. You don’t have to do it, and yet you do.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Constance September 15, 2008 at 9:21 am

Yeah! I love Powell’s. I order from them (or buy from my local used book store) when I “need” a book that the library doesn’t have and then donate to library when I finish reading.


Crafty Green Poet September 16, 2008 at 9:07 am

Powells don’t exist over here but we have loads of second hand book stores that are run by charities. I spend a lot of money in these shops!


Linda September 16, 2008 at 11:41 am

Here in Long Beach CA, we’ve had our own version of Powell’s: Acres of Books in business here since 1934 with over a million books, new & used. In an essay posted on the store’s website, novelist Ray Bradbury writes: “It is a labyrinth, a tomb, a catacomb, a maze… . In its dusty roundabout winding corridors, turn here and you collide with Shaw, turn there and you knock elbows with Gibbon …”


Unfortunately, they will be gone as of Oct 18 as the LB Redevelopment agency has mixed-use development plans for the site. It’s a shame that a site designated a cultural heritage landmark by the City of Long Beach in 1990 should so quickly be swallowed up by “redevelopment”.



Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: