Constance M, A Well-Read Wanderer
4 Unmissable Utah Bookstores: Salt Lake City & beyond
Updated: May 2
I’ll come out and say it: there are some really great Utah bookstores. Utah might be best known for ski resorts and Mormons, but if you find yourself in this western state, there’s more than a couple worthwhile indie bookstores to check out in between trips to the mountain and sightseeing in Temple Square.
After spending so much time abroad this year, I have been jonesing for some good old-fashioned book browsing (in which the books are all written in English!). So my recent trip to Utah was packed with bookstore visits, and my suitcase home was stuffed full of my finds.
When you search for Utah bookstores, you’re likely to find a lot of chains: Seagull Book, Deseret Book, and Barnes & Noble to be exact. If you dig a little deeper, however, there’s quite a few smaller, independent book stores to check out.
Most of the best Utah bookstores are in the Salt Lake City area, so you’ll see that reflected on this list. Still, there are a couple ones worth checking out in other parts of the state, including one Utah bookstore that’s recently gotten famous on TikTok.
Here are my personal recommendations of the best Utah bookstores, from Salt Lake City bookstores and beyond. As always, I’ll never claim any of my lists to be exhaustive; there are always more to visit, but having checked out quite a few myself, these are my picks.
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My number one secret for finding used books in Utah (nope, can't skip to this one; you'll have to scroll and earn it!)
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As always, this post may contain affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you, shopping from them may generate small commissions to support the operations of this blog. I’ll never show up just to peddle a product! Whenever possible, I recommend buying books at local bookshops or through Bookshop.org, because shopping there puts the profits right into the hands of indie bookstores all over the country, like the ones on this list.
Weller Book Works | Salt Lake City, UT
607 Trolley Square, Salt Lake City
If you’re looking for used bookstores in Salt Lake City, then as Brigham Young once said, this is the place. I can say without hesitation that Weller Book Works earns the top spot as my favorite Utah bookstore to browse. It’s a family-owned indie bookstore that’s been around since 1929. Tucked away in a shopping mall in Trolley Square, this Salt Lake City bookstore is a true hidden gem.
Weller Book Works combines an impressive collection of new and used books, which are intermingled on the shelves for easy browsing. Books are arranged into interesting and unique categories, which to me is always a sign of a great bookstore. Some of the book categories you’ll find at Weller Book Works include travel fiction, adventure stories, the New West, music biographies, and more.
This Salt Lake City bookstore is a real delight to browse, with a great selection and unique ambience. It has an industrial setting with high ceilings, exposed pipes, bookshelf ladders, and lots of surprising, aesthetically pleasing little nooks and crannies.
At Weller Book Works, the used books are reasonably priced as is, but if you purchase 5 used books, you’ll get a 25% discount on them (I bet you won’t be surprised to hear that’s exactly what I did). I love a good deal on secondhand books!
There’s also an upstairs area with rare books, though I didn’t get much time to explore there, because I spent so much time selecting my books on the main floor.
You’ll also find fun bookish gifts at Weller Book Works, such as t-shirts from Out of Print, bookish mugs, and book-inspired candles.
As I mentioned, Weller Book Works is located inside the Trolley Square shopping plaza, so be prepared that parking may be challenging. If you can find an open spot, parking in the Trolley Square lot is free for customers.
Related: If you’re someone who loves scouting out the best local bookstores when you travel, check out my list of must-visit San Francisco bookstores.
King’s English Bookshop | Salt Lake City, UT
1511 South 1500 East Salt Lake City
It’s easy to drive right past the King’s English Bookshop in Salt Lake, because from the outside it looks like just another house in a Sugar House neighborhood of Salt Lake. But that would be a shame, because this Utah bookstore is really a delight for book lovers looking for a good browse.
The King’s English is a great place for finding new books, book recommendations, and bookish gifts. This cute bookshop has been lovingly and thoughtfully arranged. Wind your way through its multiple rooms packed with books and beautiful displays, encountering a good amount of cozy reading corners and charming decor as you go.
Fitting with its home in the progressive Sugar House neighborhood, this Salt Lake City bookstore is a socially conscious one. There’s an entire room of books dedicated to LGBTQ+ and gender topics and shelves featuring books rewriting the history of The West from fresh perspectives. Throughout the King’s English Bookshop, you’ll find books are featured by authors of diverse backgrounds, and you’re likely to discover some new-to-you voices in literature.
The King’s English bookshop frequently hosts events, including story time for kids as well as local author showcases. Locals can sign up for their own summer reading program, designed for students from Kindergarten until 8th grade
This bookstore in Salt Lake City sells only new books, all at full price, so while it’s not the place to go if you’re looking for used books in Salt Lake or bargain-priced new books, it’s a great place to be inspired to find new books and authors and support a local indie bookstore.
Even if you can’t make it to visit the King’s English Bookshop in person, you can sign up for their book lover’s newsletter called The Inkslinger, which includes reviews of the staff's favorite books and authors.
Central Book Exchange | Salt Lake City, UT
2017 S 1100 E Salt Lake City
The Central Book Exchange is a fun bookstore to browse, particularly if you’re on the hunt for used bookstores in Salt Lake City. Like the King’s English Bookshop, the Central Book Exchange can also be found in the Sugar House neighborhood of Salt Lake. It’s actually only a couple of minutes away, so it’s easy to combine these two fun bookstores into one book shopping trip.
This Utah bookstore has a fun, old-timey ambience, with the theme harkening back to the days of horse-drawn wagons and pioneers. It is a modestly sized store, with only one main room, but it has a solid collection of used books to interest adults and younger readers alike.
I would say that books at the Central Book Exchange are priced at the high end for a used bookstore, but books are still less than new prices, and every book I inspected was in very good condition. So you may just find a nearly new copy of a book you’re searching for for less than a new price.
If you have books you want to purge from your own collection, you can participate in this Utah bookstore’s book exchange system, trading in your unwanted books for points that can be used to reduce your book prices. You can even participate in this program through the mail if you’re not based in Utah.
You can also shop their book selection online.
Parking is easy to find near the Central Book Exchange, and it’s a great place to escape the crowds of downtown Salt Lake. Plus, you’ll find lots of nearby restaurants, breweries, and shops to make a whole day of your excursion to Sugar House.
Finding where to stay in Utah:
Moon’s Rare Books | Provo, UT
4801 N University Avenue #340, Provo
Moon’s Rare Books is certainly an intriguing Utah bookstore. It’s a relatively recent addition to the Riverwoods shopping plaza in Provo, approximately 45 minutes south of Salt Lake City.
Walking into Moon’s Rare Books is likely to take you aback. It feels rather like walking into the quirky extra bedroom of a rich collector, which they’ve dedicated to a very specific assortment of memorabilia, right down to the antique brick floor imported from France.
The glass-encased, locked bookshelves in the main room of this Utah bookstore are full of truly rare editions of books you’re sure to recognize, from early editions of The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter to early and first editions of works by Charles Dickens, John Steinbeck, Alexandre Dumas, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Jane Austen. You won’t be able to browse the books freely, but the friendly staff at Moon’s Rare Books are happy to unlock the cases and allow you to view and sometimes handle any of the books you choose.
The rest of the indie bookstore’s main room is filled with other eccentric memorabilia, from a life-sized statue of LDS church founder Joseph Smith, to an enormous original portrait of Charles Dickens, to a case of early King James Bibles, to an original Star Wars script, to a lock of George Washington’s hair. There’s definitely a heavy Latter-Day Saint skew to the collection; you’ll find letters written from various Mormon church leaders and a first edition copy of The Book of Mormon.
Once your gaze moves beyond the rather captivating main room at Moon’s Rare Books, you’ll notice there are many more rooms toward the back of the store, constructed to look like an alleyway of individual shops. Each room has a theme, with rooms dedicated to children’s literature, religious texts, European history, and Harry Potter and other popular series. Each room is roped off, so you can’t enter and browse freely. Instead, you will stand at the entrance of each room and gaze into it, perhaps requesting closer viewings of any item that catches your eye. In addition to rare books, you’ll see movie props and other memorabilia in these rooms. There’s such a range of items in these rooms, including a nightgown owned by Queen Victoria, a printing press, and props from The Pirates of the Caribbean and The Hunger Games.
The very back room of this Utah bookstore is often closed with a sign on its 400-year-old castle door reading, “Please be quiet, TikTok filming in progress.” That isn’t odd when you know that Moon’s Rare Books owner and collector Reid Moon has gained fame on TikTok. He has nearly 2 million followers on the platform, which he uses for showing off various rare items in his collection. If he isn’t currently filming, he may pop out to greet you and show you an item from his collection in-person.
Unless you’re a rare book collector with thousands of dollars to spend, this Utah bookstore is more museum than store, but even if you aren’t, Moon’s Rare Books is certainly worth a visit for any book lover. You can easily spend an afternoon in this indie bookstore browsing a never-ending selection of highly curated items and, like me, wishing you had millions of dollars to spend on the gorgeous books found here.
HideAway Books | American Fork, UT
HideAway Books in American Fork, UT is a cute bookshop worth a stop if you’re already in the area, but it isn’t necessarily worth going out of your way to find. The selection at this used Utah bookstore wasn’t up to par with the other bookstores on this list, but the owner is friendly and clearly passionate about books.
The best stocked sections in HideAway Books when I visited were the children’s and young adult book sections, so if those are the genres of most interest to you, stop in and check them out.
Perhaps my favorite thing about this Utah bookstore was the section near the front door of the bookshop, where they sell books by local authors on consignment. I love that creative method of supporting local and self-published authors so they can get their books seen and read by more readers.
The cheapest place to find books in Utah: Saver's Thrift Stores
Let me preface this by saying: I am a hardcore indie bookstore fan, and I’m all about patronizing them. I think I bought multiple books at every store on this list of Utah bookstores. However, sometimes you really just want to find some cheap, secondhand books.
When that’s what you’re looking for, I’ll tell you my insider’s secret for used books in Utah: go to Saver’s. Saver’s is a chain of thrift stores throughout Utah, and there’s often a surprisingly great stock of books to browse. Most are priced from $2-$5, and they usually have an ongoing Buy 4 books, Get the 5th free deal.
I almost hate to share this bookish secret, because it means more competition for the good books, but there you have it. You’re officially in on the secret. Check one out; you never know what you’ll find.
This list of Utah bookstores should keep you fairly busy on your next visit to this beautiful Western US state.
What other locations do you want me to share the best bookstores? Drop them in the comments.
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