Gloomy doesn’t even begin to describe the feel in Portland, especially in the late fall and winter. The city of roses averages 222 days of cloud cover each year. So what better city than Portland to have upwards of 12 independent bookstores where you can find intriguing titles to curl up and get cozy with?
As Portland continues to grow, small independent operations—especially for print books—are peering into a foggier future than ever. But little do shoppers know, many of these independent bookstores are the best places to buy cheap books in Portland. It is much like the rise in popularity of Portland thrift shops, which also have some great bargains on used books.
Carrying both new and used inventory, independent bookstores can be a frugally pleasing experience for all book lovers. There is no time like the present to stop your reliance on online book shopping and take a trip to buy cheap books in Portland’s independent bookstores.
With our help, independent bookstores can do for books what thrift stores did for mom jeans—make the old cool again.
Here are my favorite places to buy cheap books in Portland. Is your favorite independent bookstore missing from this list? Send me an email.
Buy Cheap Books at Portland’s Independent Bookstores
There is an abundance of options carrying multiple genres. Throughout the city, book lovers can find themselves in the vicinity of a handful of traditional bookstores that carry a broad selection of titles.
In this small, quaint, and cozy shop that resides in an old house, books are stacked from floor to ceiling—often in an amazingly disorganized but accessible manner—and the employees are always happy to have you. When weather permits, Wallace Books even has an impressive $1 book table out front that includes titles varying from ‘what did I just read?’ to ‘didn’t that just come out?’
Not only does Wallace Books cram an impressive amount of pages into their tiny shop but they offer both new and used copies of titles, and the prices are always pleasing to the wallet.
Wallace Books is located at 7241 S.E. Milwaukie Ave. Check out their Facebook page for more info.
Bingo Used Books
Nestled along Powell Blvd is Bingo Used Books. Bingo has more than 100,000 items in the store (including some CDs, vinyl, and DVDs) and advertises having 10,000 or more that cost less than $1. In addition to the in-store inventory, Bingo claims to have 100,000 more titles online.
Don’t be fooled by their website, though, you’ll get a better price for anything you buy from them by walking into the store. They say so themselves.
Bingo Used Books is located at 3366 S.E. Powell Blvd. Visit their Facebook page for the latest happenings.
Another Read Through
Owned by a mid-2000’s Portland transplant, Another Read Through is the epitome of the new Portland. Placed quietly in a hip North Portland neighborhood, Another Read Through features titles from bestselling authors to local novelists alike. There are often book readings or launches at the store. Much like most of the Portland independent booksellers, Another Read Through is proud to offer significantly reduced prices on secondhand titles.
Another Read Through’s physical location is currently on hiatus. Visit their website for online ordering.
Although Broadway Books sells primarily new titles, they do have a collection of secondhand and on-sale books. The store has been in operation since 1992, and does its part to support the local authors and the vibrant street in which they call home. They are proud to be an independent Portland bookseller.
This book store boasts an impressive lineup on monthly event that can be found on their website. Broadway Books is located at 1714 N.E. Broadway.
New Renaissance Books
Slipped cunningly into a Northwest Portland home is New Renaissance Books, a store that just whispers you into relaxation. Featuring mainly spiritual titles—and by that I mean Buddhist, relaxation and astrological—the store also has a very cool collection of homeware.
New Renaissance Books is located at 1338 N.W. 23rd Ave. Visit their website to explore a wide range of events, readings and products.
Annie Bloom’s Books
In 1978, Annie Bloom’s Books opened in Multnomah Village. They’re still going strong today. There are no used titles in this store, but they do offer an impressive array of new titles. Instead of super low secondhand prices, Annie’s is proud to offer a robust selection of sale books at all times.
Also, and maybe most importantly, this bookstore has a cat named Molly that graces the establishment with her presence.
Annie Bloom’s Books is located at 7834 S.W. Capitol Hwy. Visit their website for staff favorites, events, a newsletter and more.
Powell’s City of Books
The king of all bookstores. The ruler of them all… Powell’s City of Books is a mammoth store (taking up an entire city block). Although Powell’s has expanded to other locations in Portland, it remains an independent bookseller and has a more than an extensive collection of used and new titles from all genres.
This is my to-go store for online book shopping and helped me shop local instead of relying on Amazon. You can choose to have your books shipped or pick up in-store.
Powell’s City of Books locations include 1005 W Burnside St.,3723 SE Hawthorne Blvd., and the Beaverton location at 3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd.
Visit the Powell’s website and feast your eyes on a bunch of sweet sweet digital literature.
Located in St. Johns, this small bookstore is packed with a curated selection of mostly used books and some new titles along with vinyl and collectibles. The owners’ academic and punk roots have created a special environment stocked with all genres with a focus on everything weird and wonderful.
Revolutions Bookshop is located at 8713 N Lombard. Visit their website.
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You’ll find this speciality bookstore tucked into a neighborhood in North Portland. The store focuses on genres, including literature, theology, history, philosophy, archaeology and Judaica. Windows Booksellers carries few new books, instead choosing to focus on works of scholarship in the humanities, great fiction and other timeless, classic books.
Windows Booksellers is located at 8900 N Wall Ave. Visit the website to browse the store’s inventory.
Crooked House Books
If you’re looking for a bookstore filled with old Portland charm, Crooked House Books is housed inside an eclectic old home complete with Bruno the bookstore cat.
The store focuses on unusual books and ephemera including decorative bindings, books by, for and about women, cookery, literature. If you love finding unique texts, visit this bookstore to browse intriguing pop-up books and paper with moving parts, weird instructional pamphlets, miniature books, anything art nouveau or art deco, and all things odd.
The bookstore is located at 1602 NE 40th Ave. Visit their website to learn more.
In Northeast Portland, there are two gems for your little ones to explore.
A Children’s Place
Portland’s oldest independent children’s bookstore has been going strong since 1974. With a small and enthusiastic staff and plenty of events, A Children’s Place is a fun place to visit for the whole family.
A Children’s Place is located at 1423 N.E. Fremont St. Visit their website for a list of programs and events.
Green Bean Books
In the same neck of the woods as Green Bean Books, is another children’s themed, independent seller. The store offers a traditional cozy reading atmosphere and has new and used titles, all of which are reasonably priced. They have a small knowledgeable staff that is there to help and create a playful reading environment.
Green Bean Books is located at 1600 N.E. Alberta St. Visit their website for events, an educator’s section and a list of specials.
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