There are plenty of book stores in the Salt Lake City area but only a handful sell secondhand books so if you’re on the hunt for something a little more historical, here are some trusted sources:
The Book Garden
2 North Main Street
The Book Garden is up in Bountiful, which is about a ten minute drive from downtown Salt Lake City, but I had to include it in the SLC roundup because it’s exactly what you think of when you think of finding a little independent bookseller. This shop is pretty teeny but the shelves are positively crammed with used books.
The Book Garden takes books on trade so on the Saturday we went there were quite a few people coming in with boxes of books in the hopes of getting some credit and I feel like they do have a lot of stock coming in and out. That being said, it’s a chaotic and tight interior and only organized in the most general of senses (nothing alphabetized and books are divided into genre according to bookseller whim). We always find some happy gems in the children’s section up front, though, and the pricing is reasonable. If you have kids who need chapter books or classics for school, this would be a good place to visit…so long as you’re prepared to dig.
Ken Sanders Rare Books
268 S 200 E
Salt Lake City, Utah
Ken Sanders is a rare book store located in a small building within walking distance of Salt Lake’s beautiful downtown library. True to their name, they only deal with used books (with a little art and ephemera thrown in) and the buyers are particular here so you’re much more likely to find ten awesome books you’ve never heard of than a used copy of that one book everyone has.
I like shopping at Ken Sanders because I have a soft spot for unusual vintage titles and the people who work there know an unreasonable amount of stuff about their merchandise so they’re more helpful about knowing what they have in stock. Personally, I stick to the bins of vintage postcards and their small children’s section so I don’t even browse through the really rare stuff but if you’re looking for something very special and hard to find, this would be a good place to start.
Fair warning: this is definitely the “cool” place to buy books in Salt Lake City so you might have to duck in between young people taking pictures of themselves or each other or the books, etc., while you browse. We ran into 5-6 cameras on Saturday alone. Oh, and don’t take your toddler unless you have someone who can trade off dragging your kid outside while you browse. This isn’t that kind of store.
Weller Book Works
607 Trolley Square,
Salt Lake City, Utah
Weller Book Works is the new name/location for Sam Weller’s Zion Bookstore. They stock both used and new books and they’re mixed together so you’ll be able to browse all of their stock by genre without moving to different parts of the store. The exception to this is their rare book room, which is upstairs and definitely the best part of the shop. They always have someone staffed in the rare book room who can help you with whatever you’re looking for.
I personally prefer their old location on Main Street to the new one at Trolley Square, which has very high ceilings, cement floors, and the general vibe of browsing in a Costco. We always leave with books in hand but I admit that it’s hard to spend as much time browsing in the new location because it just doesn’t feel like the kind of place you can hang out for hours in. It’s a million times cleaner than the old store, though, and has the advantage of being located in a shopping mall which makes it a good stop if you have some time for wandering from store to store.
Central Book Exchange
2017 S 1100 E
Salt Lake City, Utah
Central Book Exchange is located not far from King’s English in the shopping district at Sugarhouse. More importantly, it’s located a stone’s throw from the big Barnes and Noble for this part of the city and the people who shop Sugarhouse are the kind of people who would make it a point to shop local instead of big box, giving this tiny store a serious location advantage.