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The King’s English: A Journey From September

During this pandemic, multiple local businesses have been forced to close their doors permanently. Without enough business, they struggled to make the same amount of money that they usually would to keep their stores afloat. I have noticed this happen with several of my favorite coffee shops and stores, but mostly it just happened to the lesser-known places I frequent. Because of that, I never expected to hear that The King’s English Bookshop would also face the same struggles. It is probably the most popular local bookstore in Salt Lake City, located at 15th and 15th, with celebrities like Tan France holding book reading events there and authors having book signings there frequently. Back in middle and high school, any time we had to buy a book for class my teachers would tell me to get it from The King’s English. It’s such a cute store filled with very friendly employees that are always happy to help you find anything you need. So needless to say when I got an email from them talking about how they were in danger of closing down permanently I was pretty devastated.

For those of you who don’t know, back in early September, The King’s English sent out a newsletter to their customers saying that they were losing out on a lot of business due to the pandemic and unless they made the same amount of sales that they typically make in December then they would have no chance of saving their store. They came up with the idea of “Christmas in September” where customers do their Christmas shopping early so The King’s English could stay in business. The way they set it up was that a customer could buy books on their website and they could either come pick it up at the store or get it shipped to them. Another thing they had set up was a mystery box of books that was specifically created for the customer. All the customer had to do was select the amount they wanted to pay and write down their book preferences in the order and an employee would choose out books for them. I have actually done this myself after I heard about their situation and am so happy about the books I got!

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They’ve been very good about the pandemic and protecting their employees and customers by closing down their store for browsing, which unfortunately also contributed a bit to their financial situation. But when they released that email and posted about it to their social media, customers who typically like to go to their store to buy books started buying them all online. They even had customers who had moved away to different states place orders for books. In fact, they got so many orders that they surpassed the amount of sales they would make around the holidays and are backed up on orders for weeks!

Although this pandemic has been hard on everyone, and there are so many sad stories of businesses being forced to close down, hearing about how The King’s English was saved by customers that love their store is a light in the darkness. They have been a staple bookstore in Salt Lake City for years and years, and I am happy to hear that they still will be. I hope that after reading this you will go support them and buy books from their website https://www.kingsenglish.com/ and catch up on some reading!

Hi my name is Elnaz Tahmassebi and I am a Senior at the University of Utah studying International Studies and Health, Society and Policy!