Powell’s City of Books adapts to technological advances

Standing four stories high and bursting with over one million books from to choose from, Powell’s City of Books is a perfect place for shoppers to seek out the perfect book. For years, Oregonians and people from all over the world have flocked to the world-famous bookstore which first opened in 1971.

The fairly recent arrival of Kindles, ebooks, and tablets have altered the book buying market forever, offering readers more ways to purchase books. Powell’s recently partnered with Kobo, an eReader company, and has begun selling the devices in-store.

“They (eReaders) haven’t really affected our sales. Electronic books are just part of the market,” Angelo Rigazio, inventory manager, said. “They haven’t been out long enough to adjust actual business trends.”

There is a possibility that sales of print editions of books may decrease in the future due to the simplicity and convenience of eReaders. With an eReader, books can be purchased online, and become available for use in moments. These purchases will still benefit Powell’s and the reading business.

“We offer any option of book format. If you read, we’ve got you covered,” Rigazio said.

Contrary to common belief, book sales have actually been increasing in the past five years, even with the economic downturn of 2008.

“(Reading is) a cheap release with kind of a down economy,” Rigazio said.”Books are a constant.”

Powell’s bookstores have recently fallen victim to the harsh economy though. Two locations were forced to close, yet the World Famous “City of Books” remains a profitable business. Innovation and loyal customers have helped the cultural landmark fight through tough times.

“We’re strong and we’re not going anywhere,” Rigazio said. “We’re 41 years old and looking for another 40 years ahead of us.”