A Summer Garden Party at the Booths - Monday, August 15, 2011

  • Invitation

  • Michael Powell Presentation

    One of the true highlights of this summer was our gathering at the home of Gwyneth and Brian Booth. Our hosts provided us with everything a summer party should have including great food, enough to drink, dry warm weather and an exceptional book event.

    We asked member Michael Powell of Powells Books to lead off the event with comments about the status of the independent bookseller in the society and economy of today. Originally slated for 20 to 30 minutes, Mr. Powell mesmerized our members and guests for most of the evening. Mr. Powell covered the history and growth of Powells as an independent bookseller; the challenges of a 24/7 internet based society; the internal succession planning; the challenge of the warehouse clubs and big box stores and the crucial financial decisions that have to be made on almost a daily basis.

    Mr. Powell then turned his attention outwards to the big box stores, warehouse clubs and print on demand innovations. Of particular interest was the discussion of the rise and fall of Borders Books. Mr. Powell talked about the good and the almost complete tanking of the DVD and CD markets which may have been the death knell for Borders. A fair conclusion from this discussion is that the bookstore model we know even today is in a state of flux with no stability in the near future.

    Brian Booth dipped into his personal library to share a number of the more unusual and interesting books of Oregon.

    Mr. Booth is well known among other things as the editor of Wildmen, Wobblies & Whistle Punks: Stewart Holbrook's Lowbrow Northwest which is fascinating journey through the history of Portland and the Northwest.