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Powell’s Books Survived Amazon. Can It Reinvent Itself After the Pandemic?

The New York Times: ” As much as any city, Portland, Ore., has been through hell. Its landmark store, Powell’s Books, must finally build a viable online business while recapturing its downtown success…A quirky, old-school enterprise, Powell’s has retained its traditional aura in the digital era, while standing as a hero in a now-familiar tale of American urban rejuvenation. Its flagship store — a grand warren of books filling out a former car dealership — anchors a once dicey neighborhood whose warehouses have been traded in for glass-fronted condos and furniture boutiques. But the latest plot twist has foreshadowed a potentially unhappy ending. Like the rest of Portland’s urban core — and like downtowns across the United States —Powell’s is contending with staggering uncertainty. How will brick-and-mortar stores fare in a time of continued fear over a deadly, airborne plague? What happens to city life when sidewalks are strewn with the rain-soaked belongings of people who can no longer afford rent?..A hand-lettered sign taped to a concrete block wall attested to the spirit of the enterprise. “THE BOOKS MUST FLOW.”…

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