Powell’s – City of Books

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  • Idea
    6
  • Usability
    9
  • Design
    7.5
  • Price
    5
  • Utility
    7
  • User Ratings (10 Votes)
    9.7
    Your Rating:
Summary

Powell's is similar to other bookstores and other sites like Amazon. However, we decided that because Powell's specifically targets readers and authors, it's more of a niche site. This would make the site useful for the targeted users, and this makes it even more useful for authors, because the users are on the site due to their desire to find new books to read.

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If you are a serious reader or just the occasional reader type, Powell’s offers many options for you. Established in 1971, they have been around long enough to understand what a reader wants. You can browse for books or view the staff picks. If you are looking to recycle, you can purchase used books as well. They provide gift cards, as well as gifts that make, well, great gifts for any reader. If you are a writer and have a book you would like to sell, they offer features for that too. Keep up with the events or find a City of Books near you with the store finder.

Idea: 6.0

The concept is to target readers of all types, both online and in a brick-and-mortar location. Users are able to choose from purchasing new or used books, search by title, author, ISBN, or even subject. If you’re just looking for a book to read, you can browse the bestsellers or award winners, among other categories. Powell’s also caters to authors by allowing books to be sold through them, which is a nice feature. However, as for the overall concept, we feel it is not very original and lacks uniqueness to make it really stand out among all the other online bookstores.

Usability: 9.0

powells 2

We found the site easy to navigate and understand. Right away we are provided with the most popular titles on the home page, and have quick and easy access to browse or search for additional titles. We were also able to quickly find gifts for friends and family. Powell’s also makes it easy on authors to get their books out there for readers to purchase. Simply click on “sell books” – it can’t get much easier than that. We were also provided with easy access to their blog and newsletter, as well as events to stay up to date with the upcoming activities.

Price: 5.0

We reviewed several categories and sections, and what we found was there were all kinds of titles to choose from. However, regarding the price, we were rather disappointed. The prices varied greatly, starting at around $4.95 plus shipping costs for a used paperback, and going up through the roof from there. If you’re looking for a hard-to-find title, the price may be fitting, but we don’t see ourselves paying $10 for a used book we can find elsewhere for half the price including shipping.

Design: 7.5

powells 3

Overall, the site is easy to view and understand. It provides information on the sidebars that can be helpful when looking for something new, and book titles are neatly shown in the center column. The content is easy on the eyes as well, which can sometimes be the downfall of a design. Being in business for over four decades, they know how to appeal to readers of all kinds.

The product page is also neat and attractive. It provides users with diverse information, from book spec to descriptions, with an easy “add to cart” style shopping experience. However, like with the concept, we feel that the design is lacking originality and looks very similar to various other online bookstores.

Utility: 7.0

Powell’s is similar to other bookstores and other sites like Amazon. However, we decided that because Powell’s specifically targets readers and authors, it’s more of a niche site. This would make the site useful for the targeted users, and this makes it even more useful for authors, because the users are on the site due to their desire to find new books to read.

Pros
+ Simple design
+ Easy to navigate
+ Targets readers – an advantage to authors
Cons
– Design and concept are not very unique
– Prices are a bit high compared to other bookstores

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