Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The King's English Bookshop - Salt Lake City, UT

The King's English Bookshop - Salt Lake City, UT
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This independent bookstore has that "wow" factor.  It has everything figured out from top to bottom and sideways.  And when I say top, I refer to the co-owners Betsy B. and Anne H.  Betsy has been here since the start in 1977.  A lot has happened in the bookstore industry since 1977 and Betsy told me with enthusiasm that the industry is enjoying a renaissance of new independents opening and established independents seeing positive growth.  As this is true in the industry, it is resoundingly true here at King's English.

This store is featured in Ron Rice's, My Bookstore, the inspiration for my journey.  After meeting the people here, seeing the store, and hearing their stories, you can go right down the list and click all the boxes.  I think this is what you would expect of an indie that's been around this long with the continuity of talented ownership like Betsy.  The store has frequent author events held both in the store and off-site; they offer a frequent reader incentive program for their strong local customer base (more indies should do this); they publish their own newsletter, The Inkslinger, (if you're a regular make sure you're receiving this); an outstanding children's department with a thrice weekly story time hosted by Rob E., who everyone tells me does a fantastic job (if you have a toddler and haven't been here yet, check it out); strong customer service; and of course, an outstanding selection of new books in all genres.  The authors who visit here reads like a who's who list of writers befitting an indie of this stature.  People like Richard Russo, Alan Furst, and Terry Tempest Williams, to name just a few.  I even had the pleasure of meeting Jennifer A. during my visit.  She's a children's author and also one of the booksellers at King's English.

The store is a split-level of multiple rooms, all very well thought out and organized.  There are a variety of sidelines which help the business margin, but as Betsy told me the books are the thing here.  Browsing and lingering are encouraged with lots of places to sit and try out a book.  The store's space has grown over the years to include the children's department in a former gas station and now built onto and connected to the main store.

But my enjoyable visit here was times 10 on the fun scale thanks to Betsy, Rob, and Jennifer.  These people have a passion for their store and books.  Betsy is as strong as they come when it comes to advocating for local businesses.  Kudos to all at King's English for your work at one of our nation's finest.

If you're in the Salt Lake City area and haven't been to this bookstore yet, you are really missing out. And to all my fine friends who enjoy traveling the country, you need to check this place out.  See for yourself why this is a nationally recognized independent bookstore.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  The Fall Of Princes, Robert Goolrick.  Story of NYC in the 1980s and a young man's rise to riches in the world of Wall St. trading and then his fall and crash from the heights of big money, sex, and drugs.  A culture most of us only read about in books like this.  Recommended.

CURRENTLY READING:  The Sparrow, Mary Doria Russell.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Norwegian By Night, Derek B. Miller.  And West Is West, Ron Childress.  Edgar Gets Ready For Bed, Jennifer Adams.  And a gift from Betsy and King's English, The King's English, Betsy Burton.

This used to be a gas station but now it's the wonderful children's department at King's English.  

Another exterior view.  I think the sun is always shining on the store!

View looking into the store.  There are lots of rooms to visit here.  

A spinner display of staff favorites.  

Some of the sidelines, including greeting cards, can be found in this room just steps away from the front entrance.  

You'll find staff recommendations throughout the store.  

Behind me in this picture is the room of mysteries, and I'm looking straight ahead into the former gas station, now a children's section.  

This is a portion of the room where you'll find a very strong mystery section.  

Perfect!  A chair to sit in and a table for your book!

A few of the sidelines available.  

Right this way to the children's section, from the inside of the main store.  

View looking into the children's department.  

Little table and little chairs for little readers.  

When you visit the children's department, look up at the ceiling and you'll see this very cool tree house.  

If you need some hip glasses, look for this display.  

I love this promotion.  Make a donation and pick out a book that is wrapped, a blind date!  

The first room on the right from the entrance.  

After that first room on the right, keep going and you'll see a terrific room filled with fiction

You need to visit an indie because Amazon doesn't have these.  

With Betsy in the middle and Rob on the right.  Thanks for a great visit.  


  1. Edgar Gets Ready for Bed is a winner! Phenomenal attention to detail and the nods to Poe in illustrations are incredible! Ella now says "nevermore" frequently too, which is a hilarious bonus! This store looks great. --Jules

  2. I'm glad to hear that, Jules! You might have to check out more books by Jennifer Adams!