Powell’s Books

Powell’s Books’ new chapter at PDX Airport

World’s largest independent bookstore returning to one of the world’s coolest airports

Portland, Oregon’s Powell’s Books, the world’s largest new and used bookstore, operated a shop at Portland International Airport (PDX) for over 30 years.

But the shop closed in July 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. And in a tweet announcing its departure, Powell’s said, “We hope to return one day.”

We’re happy to say that’s going to happen.

As part of the expansion and makeover of the main terminal at PDX, Powell’s Book is returning to the airport.

And they’ve got a seven-year lease.

“Since the day we closed our airport store almost four years ago, the most common question from shoppers has been ‘Will Powell’s be returning to PDX?’ Now with the main terminal expansion, we are thrilled to serve travelers through our world-renowned airport,” said Powell’s Books CEO Patrick Bassett.

Powell’s Books will open a temporary kiosk shop when the new main terminal opens at PDX this summer. The bookstore will open a larger, 1,940-square-foot retail space in Phase 2 of the main terminal construction.

The new store – Powell’s fourth Portland retail location – will be in the South Hall of the airport, immediately after the Concourse B/C security checkpoint. The temporary kiosk will be directly in front of where the permanent retail shop will eventually open. 


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.

A rare and much-loved amenity at Raleigh=Durham International Airport is closing this week after serving passengers for almost 34 years.

2nd ed. Booksellers – a used bookstore located post-security at RDU – is closing it doors on December 31 after 33 and half years at the airport.

“It is quite sad to see it go, but it is time to retire as I have arthritis issues that strongly recommend that I stop lifting and toting boxes of books,” owner Walter High, who operates the store with his wife Karen, wrote on the store’s Facebook page. “We will miss our faithful customers and RDU will lose one of its most unique aspects. A used bookstore behind security at the airport doesn’t happen anywhere else in the US that we know of.Thank you all for your support over the years!”

RDU’s used bookshop was a favorite with travelers and a rarity at an airport. Two other airports have bookstores (that I know of) that also sell used books: Renaissance Book Shop at Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport and a branch of Powell’s Books (selling new and used books) at Portland International Airport.” But these are pre-security.

Souvenir Sunday at Portland International Airport – again

It’s Souvenir Sunday – the day StuckatTheAirport.com takes a look at the fun, inexpensive and locally-linked items for sale at airports.

Last Sunday, I shared some of the items I spotted at the Pendleton Store at Portland International Airport (PDX).

This week I’ve got a few more PDX finds to share.

PDX Moonstruck

Portland-based Moonstruck Chocolates were among the many regionally-created chocolates for sale at the Made In Oregon Shop, which also had a great section of locally-brewed beers, including this very unusual Voodoo Doughnut-inspired chocolate, peanut butter and banana ale.


And, rare among airport book shops, Powell’s Book had a good selection of used books for sale.

PDX Powells used books

Do you poke around the shops when you’re stuck at the airport? If you find a fun, locally-linked item that strikes your fancy, please snap a photo and send it along. If your souvenir is featured on Souvenir Sunday, I’ll send you a travel-related souvenir.