Support Your Local SLC Bookstores


Mary Allen

(Design by Mary Allen | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Ethan Blume, Arts Writer


I’ve always had an appreciation for books, but my love for bookstores, especially independent ones, came later. I’m lucky to live close enough to one of my favorites, Central Book Exchange, that I can walk there whenever I get bored.

Local Stores First

It’s important to make a distinction between independent bookstores and regular ones. I love walking around Barnes & Noble on a lazy day, but if I have a book I actually want to buy, I always check my local bookstores first. There are some rare cases, like with their special editions and their Junji Ito mangas, that I buy when I see them from Barnes & Noble without looking elsewhere, but those are few and far between. I would always prefer to both support my local bookstore and get a used book, so I save some money and get to be another stop on the book’s journey.

Bookshelves inside of Marissa’s Books in Millcreek on Sunday, July 2, 2023. (Photo by Marco Lozzi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

Marissa’s Books

I live closest to Central Book Exchange, but if I am actually looking for something, or if I have books to trade in, my first stop is Marissa’s Books. I discovered them with my dad a few years ago, when he took me around with him to run some errands. As we walked in, the employee was finalizing a donation of a cardboard box full of first-edition Stephen King hardcovers, which my dad collects. A lot of the ones in there he didn’t have, so he struck a deal and walked out a very happy man. Ever since that encounter, that place has had a magical feeling to it. If I walk in wanting something, chances are they will have it, and at a good price. I picked up one of my favorite books, “The Terror” by Dan Simmons, there for a fraction of what it goes for at Barnes & Noble. My partner got a book all about the making of the first Matrix movie for $2! We checked what it went for on eBay and it fetched $40-$60 easily.

Ken Sanders Rare Books

Marissa’s may feel magical, but Ken Sanders Rare Books feels like a dream come true. You walk in and are instantly greeted with shelves upon shelves of books. Some stacked haphazardly on top of others, some on the floor, the walkways between the aisles cluttered with books people have set aside. They have everything at Ken Sanders, and it is one of my favorite places to go if I just want to hang out for an hour or two. It’s so easy to get lost in there, looking for something and finding not only that, but five more things you hadn’t heard of that seem incredible.

Bookshelves inside of Ken Sanders Rare Books in Salt Lake City on Sunday, July 2, 2023. (Photo by Marco Lozzi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

Central Book Exchange

Central Book Exchange is more modest than both, but being in the heart of Sugarhouse makes it the one I go to the most. They have a great selection of graphic novels, and have a really fun spinning shelf that they store the horror novels on. It is a small shop, but like Ken Sanders, it’s absolutely packed with books.

There are so many more great bookstores around SLC, like Under the Umbrella, but these are the ones that I shop frequently. Stop into a bookstore sometime, you may find something just for you.

Central Book Exchange in Salt Lake City on Sunday, July 2, 2023. (Photo by Marco Lozzi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)


[email protected]