As of June 30, 2021, COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted in Portland and the state of Oregon. With the lifting of restrictions comes the opening of some of our favorite bookstores. Even though most of these stores offered contactless delivery options throughout the pandemic, let’s face it, the online experience doesn’t quite compare to the real thing.
There is nothing quite like lifting a book off the shelf, opening it and getting lost in its pages, allowing the story to take your mind. The beauty of spending time among hundreds (or millions – if you’re from Powell) of books is unmatched.
Whether you live in Portland or are traveling, here are some of our must-see independent bookstores in the city.
The world’s largest independent bookstore, Powell’s Books has been offering quality new, used, rare and out of print books since 1971. This independent chain has three branches, two in Portland and one near Beaverton. Their flagship store, City of Books, has over a million books in it, so you can literally spend days here browsing the shelves.
Powell’s selection includes everything from fiction and non-fiction to LGBTQIA + and graphic novels. They also have a great selection of gifts with art supplies, calendars, tote bags and more. An absolute book lover’s paradise, there is no place like Powell’s.
Mother Foucault Bookstore
Founded by Craig Florence, Mother Foucault’s Bookshop is a fantastic second-hand bookstore on SE Morrison Street. Mother Foucault’s wood light fixtures, carpeted floor, and subdued lighting create a comfortable and welcoming environment, and the shelves here are teeming with a selection of classic titles, books of philosophy, and original and captivating poetry.
The space also has a piano and a stage, where they host their famous literary events and readings.
Pounds of green beans
Green Bean Books is a fabulous locally owned and operated children’s bookstore in the Alberta Arts District in Portland. They house a wide selection of new and used books for everyone from newborns to adults.
Green Bean invites guests to spend time reading on their little green sofa, or outside on their large flower garden and terrace. This independent store offers regular story hours in multiple languages, craft stations, summer camps, and author tours. As an added bonus, customers can sell or trade books at the store, by appointment, during regular business hours.
They have some fantastic virtual events going on this month. Check their website for more information.
Art lovers, rejoice! Monograph Bookwerks is an absolutely gorgeous store with a variety of rare and out of print books on topics such as contemporary art, architecture, fashion, and photography. Opened in 2010 by Oregon-born artists John Brodie and Blair-Saxon Hill, Monograph Bookwerks is a great place for artists and the general public to study, explore, and pick up the best art books published today.
Check out the art and objects section of the store, where you can find everything from paintings, prints, textiles and studio ceramics.
Annie Bloom’s books
Opened over 40 years ago in the village of Multnomah in Portland, Annie Bloom’s Books offers a wide range of new books in all genres. Whether you’re looking for fiction, children’s books, travel guides, current affairs books, or a cookbook, Annie Bloom’s has you covered.
The staff at this independent bookstore are amazing, ready to answer any questions they are asked. If they don’t have what you’re looking for, they can usually order it and have you wait in just a few days. Keep an eye on their website for more information on upcoming virtual and in-store events.
Broadway Books opened in Northeast Portland in 1992 and has been offering incredible reads ever since. The store is mainly home to new books, with a fantastic selection of the latest bestsellers and award winners. They also have a range of used books and non-book items, such as greeting cards, calendars, games and puzzles.
The staff at Broadway Books are all bibliophiles, so I highly recommend you check out their personnel selection section. Co-owners Sally McPherson and Kim Bissell have some impressive selections. You never know what you might find.
Bridge City Comics
One of Oregon’s best-known comic book stores, Bridge City Comics offers a wide selection of new comics, new and used graphic novels, local comics, collectibles and clothing. . Whether you love Dark Horse, DC Comics, Image Comics, or Marvel, you’ll find it in Bridge City. What I like about this place is that it showcases smaller independent publishers.
Bridge City has a great Graphic Novel Book Club that meets on the second Thursday of each month where comic book fans can get to know and discuss in depth the latest books they have read. This place offers a subscription service thus, ensuring you never miss a number.
Floating World Comics
Another fantastic comic book store, Floating World Comics opened in 2006. They receive new comics every Wednesday, appealing to all ages, with genres such as superhero, drama, crime, horror, science. fiction, action and adventure.
Floating World is also an independent publisher and has published over 60 comics, graphic novels and art monographs.
Wallace Books is located in the heart of Portland’s Sellwood / Westlandmore neighborhood. It’s a treasure trove of new and used books, with shelves chock-full of everything from the latest bestsellers to the rarest and most out of print books.
The selection here includes everything from fiction and non-fiction to LGBTQ + novels and graphics. They do not have an online store but accept orders through their Facebook page, and are finally open again after being closed due to COVID-19. Hooray!
Longfellow Books is a large independent bookstore located in the heart of downtown Portland. They sell new and used books, with fantastic offers of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, cookbooks, graphic novels and children’s books. Whatever you are looking for, you are sure to find it at Longfellows.
The staff here are incredibly familiar with the books and are always happy to answer questions. Check their personnel selection section is a must!
A place for children
Portland’s oldest children’s bookstore, A Children’s Place opened over forty years ago and has been helping to raise little readers ever since. Despite all the expansions and relocations over the years, this place retains the same values ââas when founders Lynn Kelly and Jan Bruton opened the original Broadway store in 1974.
A Children’s Place offers a great Loyalty program and the Teacher Partner Discount, where teachers and librarians can save 20% on books.