Powell's may not be the big dog when it comes to books, but its dog-eared volumes keep it near the front of the pack. the book retailer maintains more than a handful of stores in the portland, oregon, area including its flagship city of books store, which covers a city block and contains more than 1 million volumes. it sells new, used, out-of-print, and rare books; it even sells books that are returned to online bookseller amazon.com. the company operates specialty stores for cookbooks and gardening, technical books, and travel books; it also features author readings and book discussion groups and sells books online. president michael powell, whose father, walter, opened city of books in 1971, owns the firm.