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A Bookworm’s Guide to Salt Lake City

            Being a bookworm isn’t as easy as one might think. It can take a lot of googling and aimless wandering in order to feed your reading obsession. But, for those of you in Salt Lake City, here is a helpful guide to point out some of the best places to find books.

Salt Lake Public Library

Most big cities boast a massive public library, and Salt Lake City is no exception. This organization is large enough that it encompasses several offshoots, but the main building in downtown Salt Lake is by far the most impressive.

The building is comprised of five different levels, containing everything from movies to CDs to, of course, books.

By accessing their website, patrons can even check the availability of certain texts right from home. Not that it’s necessary, in most cases, with the size of their inventory.

After assuring the location of their book of choice, a bookworm need only make the trip downtown to check it out. Library cards are easy to obtain to anyone who can prove residence in Salt Lake City.

For those residing elsewhere, they can access the same benefits for a fee. And, should this be the case and you worry that you don’t have the means to make library runs often enough to validate such a transaction, fear not. The library offers online texts, as well, meaning anyone with an e-reader can reap the benefits of a card, no matter their location.

Barnes and Nobel

            Is Barnes and Nobel even a relevant inclusion on these types of lists anymore? Anyone who’s ever so much as purchased a book before knows of this place’s existence; and anyone who’s done so in Utah likely knows of the chain’s Sugarhouse store.

That being said, it’s still a good place to keep on the radar for any bookworm. It remains one of the few chain bookstores that have survived throughout the country; even in the wake of many others going out of business. There is certainly a reason for that, which is its tendency to carry anything and everything. This, admittedly, depends on the store size, but, being a large company, Barnes and Nobel also offers readers the opportunity to tap into their online sight; thus ordering any book that the physical store might have lacked.

Shopping at Barnes and Nobel is not necessarily, ‘buying local,’ but at the same time, to shop here is supportive in its own right towards a floundering bookstore market.

Central Book Exchange

The Central Book Exchange allows patrons to buy a book and then, once they have finished it, return it to receive a discount towards their next purchase. Of course, this policy is not exclusive to products purchased at the store. You are welcome to bring in any book from home that happens to be, quite literally, collecting dust on the shelf.

As an added bonus, Central Book Exchange is also quite merciful when it comes to the quality of the books they accept. This means that they’re less likely to turn away novels that are a touch more obscure, or that have seen a little wear. They might offer fewer credits in return, but so long as it isn’t virtually falling apart, the odds are in your favor.

Due to this setup, most of the stock here consists of pre-owned fare. This makes it a little more difficult to locate particular titles—which may or may not be stocked, depending on the day. In general, the store is rather good about offering a wide variety of options, including but not limited to the more popular books you might be after.

And, in the case that you have a specific book in mind, the shop is well organized and separated out into specific genres, meaning you won’t have to browse through a huge, sporadic collection in the hopes you’ll stumble across that one thing you’re after.

Deseret Industries 

Theoretically speaking, this entry could also be filled with one of the other thrift stores throughout the valley. But, in the end, the Deseret Industries stands out from the rest for its immense and consistent literary stock. It also has the added benefit of new merchandise coming in often enough that you’ll get a completely different shopping experience from week to week.

That in mind, searching the DI for books is completely different from most of the other stores mentioned on this list. Even other shops that sell used products usually do so with meticulous organization.

At the DI, the store dedicates a corner to bookshelves, which are then hazardously stocked with the vast array of novels that come through the donation bins. There is often an attempt at organization, such as separating fiction from nonfiction, and putting children’s books on their own shelf.

But, in truth, the main draw in shopping for books at the DI is the fun of the hunt. Anyone who waltzes in with the intent of locating a very particular literary work will likely be displeased.

Occasionally, you’ll stumble across something you’ve been searching for, but more often than not, something completely off the wall will pique your interest. And then, because you’re at the DI and this quasi-interesting novel only costs a whopping 75 cents, you feel much less guilty about giving it a shot than you might if this book you’d never heard of cost upwards of $15.


Weller Book Works

If there’s a bookstore on this list that encompasses that all-over bookstore-vibe, it’s probably Weller Book Works. In fact, the impressive layout of this one is reason enough to check this one out.

 And, to prove it’s not just style over substance, it has also been known to host a few literary inspired events, such as slam poetry nights, which further flesh out the laid-back, studious vibe this place simply exudes.

As far as its actual literary spread, Weller Book Works has a style that might best be described as eclectic. A bulk of its shelves are comprised of interesting, informative texts that you usually wouldn’t encounter anywhere except for maybe a back corner of Amazon.

While it also offers up some of the mainstream fare, if that is all that you are after, Weller Book Works may not be your place of choice. It has crafted a little niche as far as genres go that’s all its own; and much of what you discover there may well be books you never would have crossed paths with in your day-to-day life.

So, whether or not the products resonate with you, it’s a good store to visit to experience its unique vibe.

The King’s English Bookshop

Something about the King’s English is incredibly personable. It’s a local place that stocks an expansive collection of literary genres, all which snake through several small rooms that separate said genres for easy browsing purposes. For all its contents, though, KE keeps a good balance, comprised partly of popular new releases, partly of older, well-renown works, and partly those obscure gems just waiting to be discovered.

It’s also hosted a number of author panels and book signings over the years, so any bookworm interested in a meet and greet with their favorite writer should keep an eye on the upcoming roster.

And, if ever you pay a visit to this local bookstore, don’t feel shy approaching anyone behind the counter. All of the staff members here are particularly welcoming and will be nothing if not accommodating if you need help locating something in particular.

Hopefully, at least one of these locations appeal to you bookworms out there, and you decide to check them out.


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