Saturday, July 9, 2016

Ken Sanders Rare Books - Salt Lake City, UT

Ken Sanders Rare Books - Salt Lake City, UT
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This is one of those bookstores that you'll like because of the volumes of books.  But it will be the kind of place you'll enjoy and want to return to because of the owner, Ken S.  My regret is that I didn't get to spend more time talking to him.  He's the kind of person that you can tell is quite knowledgeable about the business.  He's been involved with the PBS program, "Antiques Roadshow."  He was in charge of security for the Antiquarian Booksellers Association and even cracked a ring of book thieves by setting up a sting.  How cool is that?!  Who wouldn't enjoy talking with Ken for hours?!  Heck, someone should write a book about this.  Oh wait, they did.  The Man Who Loved Books Too Much, by Allison Bartlett.  One more to add to my pile.

Ken has been in the business for 40+ years and in his current location of downtown Salt Lake City for 20 years.  I think the inventory here is outstanding but you won't find everything.  You're not going to find romance, self-help, or business and there are very few westerns.  The store carries primarily used or rare books with a small handful of new.  The store is very long and you'll have several long aisles of book shelves to browse.  I'm not an expert on rare or collectable books but by all appearances I thought that there was an extensive collection here.

As for the vast amount of used books offered, Ken is very particular about what he takes and puts on the shelves.  He rejects approximately 95% of what customers bring in and only takes books that are in good condition.  I think most of the good used bookstore owners have a similar philosophy.  He offers the customers money or store credit and the store credit will be a better deal.  And in Ken's words, he doesn't put anything on the shelves by crappy authors.  You see why I want you to meet this guy?!  Ken is also the founder of Dream Garden Press but this is more of a business for decoration rather than practicality since he doesn't actively pursue manuscripts.

I had a great time meeting Ken and talking to him as well as James and Esther, two of the booksellers.  This trip was made all the easier since Ken has a free parking lot right on the side of the building.

So check your attic and your basement.  Check your grandparent's house.  You might have some books Ken will be interested in.  But even if you don't, you need to check out this top-notch used bookstore.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  The Sparrow, Mary Doria Russell.  I almost gave up on this one but it finally grabbed me.  Not my usual kind of book, but highly recommended by a bookseller who said it has crossover appeal.  She was right.  Sci-fi futuristic journey of 8 people to another planet, trying to find the source of the music received in a radio signal on Earth.  What did they find on that planet and what influence did they have on the life there?  Recommended.

CURRENTLY READING:  The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Desert Solitaire, Edward Abbey.  Freddy And The Bean Home News, Walter R. Brooks.

Look at the picture of the store front at the top of this article and this is a close-up of what you see.  The picture makes it look like a mural but it's actually bookshelves with books built into the front of the store.  You can browse before you enter!

View looking into the store from the front entrance.  Through the doorway ahead is a vast warehouse of books.   Devout readers may recognize the out of focus celebrity.  Yes, that's my mom.  

Looking to the left from the front entrance.  This is where you'll find lots of the collectable and vintage books.  

View stepping into the remainder of the store.  Lots of bookshelves, lots of aisles.  

Some of the artwork available.  

A display of staff picks.  

One of the long book aisles.  

This section of books is shelved around a doorway to a room where there are more books waiting to be shelved.  

And here they are!

Another nice view of the store.  

There are a lot of books here of regional interests and by regional authors, these are just a few.  

This is only one of the several places you can sit in the store and sample a book.  

Find an interesting assortment of postcards available here.  

A nice section of leather-bound editions.  

With Ken S. on the right.  Thanks for a great visit.  

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