Guide to Downtown SLC :: Bookstores


While the Nook and Kindle are great, there’s something satisfying about opening up a hard covered book and flipping through actual, tangible pages. And if you’re going to the trouble of getting your hands on a real life book, you might as well go to a real life bookshop to get it. Getting lost in a bookshop is one of those ultra-romanticized scenes in your head that maybe you want to hate, but can’t because it actually is that magical. Take the afternoon off and head down Main Street and into Eborn Books.

Formerly the space of Sam Weller’s Books, Eborn is three stories high of new, used, and rare reads. Whether you’re looking for a brand new release or a piece more obscure and locally published, you’ll certainly find something to keep you busy. As a former Mormon, I find the LDS literature section both fascinating and weird as hell, and could spend hours flipping through youth manuals of the 1960s. You may find yourself getting lost in the basement, among piles and piles of 20th century maps, decades worth of National Geographic, and gorgeous peeling wallpaper.

Eborn is a huge space, and it’s completely overwhelming knowing you’ll never be able to see everything in it, but it’s worth the trip over, regardless. If you’re not sold yet, take note that it shares the building with the downtown Coffee Garden! Grab an iced coffee and immerse yourself in good literature, and some weird-ass Utah culture.

JAMEE'S PICK: Ken Sanders Rare Books

The first time I walked into Ken Sanders, I was looking for a copy of Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (my favorite book) to give my boyfriend for Valentine's Day. I asked about the book, and their response was, "Well, we have a copy, but it's in French." If that's not cool enough or indicative enough of the situation happening at Ken Sanders, consider this: my aforementioned boyfriend bought a used Haruki Murakami book there and found a plane ticket from a flight that left Seattle and landed in Tokyo. The book's previous owner had been using it as a book mark. 

If you look through the gallery below, you can see just how packed the store is with books. It's literally overflowing, which you already know if you've ever driven by and seen the outdoor book shelves. The staff is extremely knowledgeable, and you can tell they're there because they genuinely care about stories and literary culture. 

Ken Sanders is the publishing industry equivalent of a perfectly curated thrift store. You can find enticing and bizarre books here (that haven't already been turned into a major motion picture) for less than the price of a cup of coffee. Why would you buy a book at Barnes & Noble for $15 ever again?

Words by Beatrice Poulsen (@thegraveyardgirl) and Jamee Sailor (@sailorjamee)

Photos by Angie Petty (@apettyphoto)

Jamee Sailor