The American Booksellers Association focused on bookstores in the West this week in an article by David Shapiro, founder and president of Craigmore Creations. Below is an excerpt. The full article can be found here.
By David Shapiro, President of Craigmore Creations
The Willamette Valley
The Willamette Valley of Oregon is a land of long, rainy winters. While this does little to help out with the winter tan, it does lend itself to many days of reading. There are bookstores aplenty to help fill that space on your reading shelf.
Portland is home to Powell’s Books, the Mecca of Northwest bookstores and the bookstore that book lover’s dream about. It has so many books and a wonderful café that it is not uncommon to make a night or an entire afternoon out of a visit to the store. And now, brace yourself, they are renovating and making improvements to the store, so in the future it will be even better.
While Portland has an incredible amount of used and new bookstores, two in particular stand out. Annie Bloom’s and Broadway Books are both quality stores with great staff, a nice store layout, and a good selection of books for readers of all ages. These stores do not have a café attached, so the shopping experience is a more traditional affair. However, this is Portland and there are plenty of places to get your coffee after you have purchased your new book, and then you can sit down and read it!
Corvallis is a picturesque brick-building town in the middle of the Willamette Valley, south of Portland. It is home to the Oregon State University and its team, the Beavers, and about 55,000 people. This is a nice town that is often overlooked on people’s itineraries of Oregon, which is too bad. Corvallis has a few very nice bookstores and a good selection of places to eat any meal of the day. Grass Roots Books and Music is a very cozy store that, as the name implies, combines the best of both worlds, catering to the bibliophile as well as the music enthusiast. The brick-and-wood interior is very inviting, as is the staff. The Book Bin is another must-see bookstore in Corvallis, with a sister store in the state capital of Salem; both Book Bins are larger stores and both had a healthy number of mid-day shoppers on the Tuesday that I visited.
Eugene, at the head of the Willamette Valley, is home to the most impressive used bookstore in the state. Smith Family Bookstore is a veritable maze of books piled in so many ways as to make finding what you want a challenge.
However, it seemed to me that one does not go to Smith’s to find what they want to read, but to find what they did not know they wanted to read and now can’t fathom having done without. There is also a bronze statue commemorating Ken Kesey, poised reading a book to a varied group of listeners. For an author who was very much influenced by One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, this statue was an inspiration to see.
The University of Oregon has the Duck Store, which has a very impressive collection of books for both the academically and pop-culture oriented. It is among a handful of university bookstores I have visited and is an outstanding example of its kind. The campus itself is also very pleasant to walk around as you admire the old trees and brick buildings.