I’m sure most of you are familiar with the wonderful independent bookstores out of Portland, Oregon — Powell’s. They have the most amazing selection, and I only know it online. (Someday, however, I hope to travel to Portland and visit this place.) I think of Powells as the Strand of the West Coast.
So I wanted to give you a couple of tips about Powell’s. First, they buy books online and give you virtual credit for stuff in their stores. You just put in the ISBNs, hit a button, and they tell you whether or not they’ll take the books, how much they’ll give you for them, and then, if you accept their offer, a preprinted mailing form so that you can mail the books for FREE! It’s a win, win – if you have books you can part with, of course.
Also, Powell’s has a great newsletter called the Daily Dose, which gives you short recommendations of titles from Powells’ shoppers. The review is helpful in and of itself, but you can also review books for Powells on their website. Just find a book you like, click on the link that says, “Be the first to add a comment for a chance to win,” and then write a short review. If your review is picked, as mine was for today, you get $20 in store credit. It’s awesome.
Finally, you can sign up for any of Powell’s great newsletters , including one that sends you a review a day from the major newspapers that still review books. Great stuff.
Both of these options are great ways to support the independent bookseller – a breed that is dying as everyone recognizes the economy and banality of big chain stores – and to help yourself in the process.
Let me know if you give it a try.