Portland’s other independent bookstores

Powell’s is great, but here are seven alternatives

  • Annie Bloom’s Books: 7834 SW Capitol Hwy., annieblooms.com
    • This shop in Multnomah Village, which opened in 1978, is quaint but not in a frivolous way, complete with green awning out front and a lounging cat named Molly. Check out the expertly selected table displays and large selection of children’s books. Also, coffee.


  • Cameron’s Books and Magazines: 336 SW Third Ave., cameronsbooksandmagazines.com
    • Tired of order and structure? Come here to browse away the hours in a dusty maze with a large number of vintage magazines and paperbacks. Find everything from hidden treasures to “Who would want to buy this?” Disregard the grumpy hand-lettered signs at your peril.


  • A Children’s Place: 1423 NE Fremont St., achildrensplacebookstore.com
    • This book mecca has been developing local brains since it opened in 1974 and claims the title of Portland’s oldest independent children’s bookstore. Is that an independent bookstore for children, or a bookstore for independent children? Don’t get distracted; this is about the books. The business also supports Community Transitional School for children of houseless families with an annual book donation.


  • Excalibur Comics: 2444 SE Hawthorne Blvd., excaliburcomicspdx.com
    • This 40-year-old shop on Hawthorne claims to be “the oldest and coolest comic book store in Portland,” but is obviously legit, and I’m not just saying that because you can browse the shelves using Google Street View.


  • Friends of the Library Store at Multnomah County Central Library: 801 SW 10th Ave., friends-library.org/store
    • A tiny shop just inside the library’s front entrance, which sells a nicely curated selection of donated books, along with new coffee mugs, socks and other souvenirs. Proceeds benefit special library programs. If you don’t find a book to buy, borrow one of the library’s two million volumes.


  • Mother Foucault’s Bookshop: 523 SE Morrison St., motherfoucaultsbookshop.com
    • Ever wonder why a certain giant independent bookstore lacks that wonderful smell of musty old books? It’s because they’re all here: sophisticated, venerable, leatherbound volumes, including many complete sets, for sniffing or reading. Ask about the shop’s artist in residence or browse the rare book room by appointment.


  • Oregon Historical Society Museum: 1200 SW Park Ave., ohs.org
    • Purchase hard-to-find books on local history, artwork and prints by local artists, plus back issues of Oregon Historical Quarterly. Also find recently published works of local interest, such as Peter Kopp’s Hoptopia: A World of Agriculture and Beer in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.