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#IReadIndie: Powell’s Books

by Timber Press on January 27, 2018

in Gardening

Photos from Flickr.

At Timber Press, we are honored to be a part of the colorful indie publishing community. In addition to supporting powerful campaigns like Workman’s #IReadIndie, we want to celebrate independent bookstores and their communities. Supporting independent authors, publishers, and bookstores promotes diverse voices, small businesses, and community engagement. Here are some of the amazing booksellers stacking the selves across the country:

Kim Sutton began at Powell’s Books as a brand marketing coordinator in 2005. She also served as corporate marketing manager until 2012 when she became the director of marketing. With over a decade of experience at the internationally-renowned bookish icon, Sutton has witnessed thousands of author events, the seismic remodel of the flagship Powell’s Book, and the ongoing balance between Powell’s e-commerce and brick-and-mortar presences.

What’s your favorite aisle or section of the store?

I spend most of my time in the blue room, browsing our literature aisles.

How does Powell’s serve the Portland community?

We have an especially intimate relationship with Portland—what other city in America can name a bookstore as its top attraction? We host over 500 author events a year, in addition to children’s story times, writing workshops, game demonstrations, and book clubs.

In spite of our substantial size and reach, we remain grounded by our company’s core values, which have guided us through the ups and downs of the bookselling industry. Each and every employee’s love of books drives us forward.

If space and budget were no object, how would Powell’s grow or expand?

With no constraints, I’d love to see a Powell’s Books in any underserved community, where there isn’t a bookstore or library.  We have customers who drive up to Portland and Beaverton from about 40 miles away to visit a bookstore, because they don’t have a local shop.

What makes Powell’s unique from other bookstores?

There are so many wonderful bookstores and each is truly unique. I think Powell’s is unique, one-of-a-kind.  The sheer size of our flagship location (four stories and a full city block) makes the experience unlike any other bookstore visit.  It’s very hard to explain the feeling and emotions people feel when entering the doors of Powell’s, so you’ll have to visit and experience it for yourself.

What indie title would you like to see become a bestseller?

Stephen Florida, by Gabe Habash (Coffee House Press).

Why are bookstores still relevant in the digital age of online shopping?

I really like this assessment by our CEO, Miriam Sontz, “Bookstores are an incredible cauldron of serendipity. What comes next into your field of vision is a combination of randomness and curation by staff, a totally human and irreplaceable experience. I can walk down the same aisle every day and see something different.”

Our online presence supports all of the programming and promotions of our physical stores and also features a wealth of wonderful unique author content.  Many people do not know that it’s a full-service e-commerce website with the ability to purchase inventory from any of our store locations.

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