Portlanders like their books like they like their coffee, vegetables and chickens: local and independent. From the titan among bookstores, Powell's Books, whose reach has expanded nationally, to the smaller Broadway Books, who regularly schedule author events, Portland's independent bookshop scene is diverse, kicking and affordable. Start shopping.
Smaller, yet well-stocked, Cameron's is ripe with literary classics and oversized picture travel books. But the real bread and butter remains the vast collection of magazines. At Cameron's my friend was reunited with his first ever Playboy: Sherilyn Fenn, December, 1990.
Always make a trip to the top floor (the silver room) and check out the art and strange books. And there's minimal parking so take public transport or walk.
The Multnomah County Library's discarded media bookstore, Title Wave, sells books at a deeper discount than other used book retailers in town. Hardcover novels start at two dollars and increase from there while special discounts are given to Wednesday shoppers.
Broadway Books is a pillar in the local independent bookstore community. If they don't stock it, they'll order it. Take your friends.
St. Johns Booksellers crams a lot in a little space. If you go looking for a specific title they might not have it (but she can order it). However, you'll still go out the door with some equally treasured titles under your arm. Her selection is superior and affordable.
The last independent feminist bookstore in the nation is now the Rose City's newest feminist community center. They boast a lending library and space for events including readings and yoga.
Bring in the books that your kids have since grown out of (but not appropriated as coloring books) for cash or credit to Green Bean Books. But all ahead and schedule an appointment before showing up with a red Radio Flyer full of Dr. Seuss classics.
I probably annoy the clerk here, as I visit Ampersand every other day. In the middle of this sleek shop/gallery/bookstore is a chest of drawers containing numerous photographs across all genres & time periods. It's my treasure trove of yet-to-be discovered new favorite photographers.
While still a relatively new bookshop, Mother Foucault's channels the pre-Barnes & Noble bookstore era. Before bookstores had cafes and oversized comfy chairs, they had towering shelves with hardcover first editions and clerks dressed in tweed. Mother Foucault's is one such bookshop.
The title of this shop does not reveal the subject matter for bulk of their books: high brow erotica. At Counter Media you enter a place where the human form is beautiful, not objectified. Each book is a fine addition to the home library--for one of the higher shelves.