Powell’s Books out at PDX Airport

Here’s yet another reason to curse COVID-19.

Powell’s Books has permanently closed both the store and the kiosk it operates at Portland International Airport.

Book lovers know Portland’s Powell’s Book as the iconic store that has been selling new and used books since 1971.

The company’s flagship location, Powell’s City of Books, in downtown Portland is a block long and boasts more than a million books. The store hosts hundreds of author readings and appearances each year.

The Powell’s Books branch at PDX is a rarity in airport book shops in that it carries new and used books and has been operating for 30 years.

Besides the joy of having a real bookstore at the airport, many travelers loved being able to order a book and pick it up at the airport on their way out of town. Or when they landed.

Better yet, the airport branch of Powell’s Book was located pre-security, with lot of other shops that draw locals as well.

Since Covid-19 blew in, Powell’s has shuttered all its locations, but is still offering shipping and pick-up. Powell’s plans to reopen its downtown flagship store and, perhaps, its other branches in town. But the company has decided that will not reopen its airport shop or the concourse kiosk.

“The privilege of welcoming book lovers to Portland, and sending Portlanders off on their travels with a good book in hand, has been a true gift, Emily Powell, CEO of Powell’s Books, said in a statement, “It’s hard for me to imagine our future without the airport, and without the airport’s seasoned team of booksellers.”

Shops closing at other airports too

Losing Powell’s Books at PDX is a heart breaker. But, sadly, it is not the only popular airport shop – or restaurant – that PDX and many other airports around the country are losing.

As passenger numbers stay in the dumps, many airport concessions can barely afford to stay open or reopen.

Post-pandemic, we’re sure to see a great many shuttered airport shops.

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2 thoughts on “Powell’s Books out at PDX Airport

  1. Yes, it is a big loss and sadly a preview of what’s to come in many of my favorite airports with some of my favorite amenities.

  2. Harriet, not that long ago you told me how much you enjoyed the Portland Airport and I found your sentiment right on when I passed through there at the end of June. Though many of the stories were not open, those that were had great merchandise and friendly staff. Powells was not open when I visited, but I looked forward to stopping in on my return trips to Portland, so I am very sad to read this news in your post. In the great scheme of things, the loss of a satellite book store doesn’t seem like much, but collapses begin with small crumblings like these.

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