Local Bookstores Come Together for the Inaugural Portland Book Week

More than 50 shops are participating with a book crawl, games, raffles, discounts, and more.

Powells_hawthorne-winter Powell’s permanently closes its Home & Garden store.

An important chapter for Portland’s book-loving community kicks off today with the inaugural Portland Book Week.

From June 10 to 16, over 50 local bookstores across Portland, Beaverton, Gresham, Oregon City, Milwaukie, and Vancouver, Wash., are binding together for a week full of reading, offering participants the chance to join for a book crawl, games, raffles, and discounts.

“The goal of Portland Book Week is to showcase the vibrancy of our independent bookstore community, foster connections between literary-minded people across the city, and to geek out about books together,” Powell’s store manager Bry Hoeg said in a statement.

Portland Book Week comes out of a collaboration between Powell’s Books and the Cascade Booksellers Association. “It’s always been a dream of Powell’s to have a citywide book crawl,” Hoeg says.

Some bookstores will also be hosting reading events with selected authors. On June 15, Powell’s Pearl Room will be closed down and occupied by Backfence PDX to host a series of Portlanders’ personal stories on the theme “Mistakes Were Made.” On June 23, Rene Denefeld and Liz Scott will have a live conversation about their new books at Annie Bloom’s Books.

One concern for Portland Book Week is that it takes place over the duration of an entire week, a fact that may make it difficult for participants working daytime hours, but this doesn’t scare Hoeg. “I think the beauty of this is that you can go at your own pace and really decide your own experience,” she says. “We’re really confident you can start the crawl on Friday and still visit a good portion of the stores.”

The spaced-out nature of Portland Book Week also ensures a lower possibility of shops being flooded by eager customers all at once, like the milelong line at Powell’s recent warehouse sale on June 1.

Coinciding with the crawl, participants are also encouraged to visit Rose City Book & Paper Fair, an event presented by the Cascade Booksellers Association. From June 14 to 15, the Lloyd DoubleTree will house 60 exhibitors, mainly focusing on the selling of rare and collectible books.

It’s too early to tell if Portland Book Week will become a tradition, but getting the first off the ground has left Lori Carroll, owner of Jan’s Books, impressed. “We always hear that getting bookstores to work together is like herding cats, but we did it,” Carroll says.

Check out Portland Book Week’s website for a full list of participating bookstores and events.

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