FEATURED INDIE: Powell's Books

Here at Atelier26, we love shining a light on America's best independent booksellers. Independents and their staff are in the business of knowing their neighborhoods, clientele, and clientele's particular tastes (a far cry from the M.O. of Amazon or the chains). Indies thereby do a profound service to their communities -- and, by ripple effect, to the larger culture in our country. It's no stretch to say that vitality of the indies means vitality for democratic culture itself, which begins in and consists of (what else?) neighborhoods! 

Our latest featured indie is Powell's Books in Portland. 

Exemplifying all that an indie bookstore can be, Powell's happens to be the world's largest. The flagship location downtown, Powell's City of Books, stocks more than a million volumes on its shelves and sees around 6,000 in-store visitors each day. Another 80,000 people explore the vastness of inventory, blog posts, author interviews, and e-book store that is Powell's.com.

But the power of large, for Powell's, has never invalidated the power of local. The handsell, that book-vending art born only of an "old-fashioned" emphasis on community, remains a core value in all Powell's operations. Whether serving readers in the neighborhoods of Portland or in the infinite neighborhoods of the Internet, Powell's seeks to connect people with something far more meaningful, beautiful, and important than the paltry handful of titles on the bestseller list of some east coast newspaper. As Miriam Sontz, Powell's CEO of Strategic Development has put it:
"We don't try to sell hundreds of one book. We try to sell one book to one person and do it a thousand times a day." 
To our ears here at Atelier26, that sounds like culture. 

We're proud to report that Harriet Scott Chessman's The Beauty of Ordinary Things is now in stock at Powell's.