A bookstore tourist

Dear kind reader,

I wanted to let you know I’m off to Powell’s — oops, I mean Portland, Oregon.

This photo from Powell's website doesn't do the store justice.

Powell’s, of course, is the bookstore in downtown Portland. It occupies an entire city block, and claims to be the largest used and new bookstore in the world. In a word, it’s fabulous.

I think I might have first visited Powell’s while I was attending college in Bellingham, Washington. I had a good friend who was going to school outside of Portland, so occasionally I’d take a long weekend to drive down and see her.  And as I recall, that might have been one of the first times I walked among those glorious shelves.

More recently I was there with Fireside Books owner Melissa Behnke. It’s a funny feeling to enter Powell’s as a bookseller. I had a mixed reaction of admiration, jealousy, and inspiration. Oh, I’d think proudly, we have that book. Wow, those are really cool displays. I wish we had chairs like this in our history section!

The reason Melissa and I were in Portland together several years ago was to attend the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association annual trade show. It’s an event that brings booksellers together to learn about their trade, discover new books, and generally have a great time. As I mentioned in an earlier letter, this year I have the opportunity to attend as an author.

I leave tomorrow, and on Friday I’ll attend a PNBA dinner in which authors visit with booksellers and tell them about their books. It’s terribly exciting and surprising to be going to discuss my own book. During the two days I’m in town, I’m also hoping to get a chance to roam the trade floor and snag a few advance reader copies. A good friend and former co-worker at Fireside Books lives in Portland now, so maybe we’ll get together for coffee. I’ll have a chance to catch up with Amanda from Little, Brown. And Katie, who works at Fireside Books now, is attending the conference as a bookseller, so I know we’ll flag each other down at some point.

But, amidst all this business and fun, I’m going to make sure I can sneak over to Powell’s for an hour, or two … or three.



P.S. I’m afraid all this book business won’t leave much time for me to write a letter to you Friday — so I’ll see you on Monday!


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Melissa Behnke
    Oct 12, 2011 @ 09:55:15

    Have a wonderful time, Eowyn! I hope you find something to bring you as many belly laughs as we had together! 🙂 I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

  2. Sue Mathis
    Oct 12, 2011 @ 10:20:30

    Have a great time!

  3. Yaya
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 09:10:37

    How exciting! Can hardly wait to hear all about the trip. Hope you do have the time to get together with your friend. I know your book will be well received as it is such an outstanding book. Those folks in Norway surely recognize a great book as will those in Portland.

  4. Nancy B.
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 19:02:07

    A library conference was held a few years ago in Portland…..a nation-wide public library conference. It was my first opportunity to visit Powell’s. I snuck away from the conference one afternoon only to find a store full of librarian’s wandering around with stars in their eyes! Even in these days of electronic publishing, there is something about books and Powell’s has just that eclectic flair to make us spend hours in their store! Hope your days in Portland are filled with fun.

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