Booked for Business: The Uncensored Bookstore in Ogden

written by: Ashley Szanter   photos by: Adam Finkle

Ogden’s uncensored bookstore gives bookworms a place to connect.

Marcy Rizzi saw a need for a bookstore in her community but never thought she would be the one to fill it. “I worked in law enforcement for 15 years,” Rizzi says, and she was content as a cop. Then a fellow officer was diagnosed with a terminal cancer.

“In February 2011, she was dying, and she pulled me aside to say, ‘Please live for me. You have so much going for you, so live for me,’” Rizzi remembers. Her friend died on March 9, 2011 and Rizzi turned in her badge less than two months later. “I had absolutely no plan and no idea what I wanted to do,” she says.

Marcy’s wife, Alicia Rizzi, knew exactly what Marcy should do: “Why don’t you open a bookstore?”

“I completely laughed her off,” Marcy says, “but she was right.” Marcy enrolled at the University of Utah in English, where she is currently four classes away from her degree. Her studies fanned the flames of her desire to become a book peddler.

An Ogden native, Rizzi felt that students at Weber State needed their own indie bookstore. “Weber State didn’t have a good, central, off-campus place to gather and meet and talk. At the U, people have the King’s English and other meeting places. So I wanted to open one in Ogden,” she says. So she did. Booked on 25th is not your typical Utah bookstore—Rizzi markets it “uncensored.” “I wanted it to be a clarion call to people who want literature that will push and expand their ideas,” Rizzi says. “It might have [obscene] language in it, or sex or blasphemous ideas, but they’re okay with that.”

The shop is small, under 1,000 square feet, but Rizzi makes it feel as if you’ve entered her home. “I wanted this to be a safe space for people to discuss differing ideas. Your political views, your religious views, how you feel about marriage and sex and all those things are open here,” she says.

The business of bookstores is unique, Rizzi says. “I’ve done different kinds of retail in the past, but the way that you can build community around books is fascinating for me. The friendships and relationships that have been built in this store are unlike anything I’ve ever been a part of. There’s just something about book people.”

Rizzi carries a wide variety in her store, including fiction, history, science, biography, new and second-hand books. But local writers are the heart of the store. “When I opened this space, I knew I wanted to have a heavy emphasis on local authors,” she says. Booked on 25th hosts a local author reading or signing at least once a week.

Ogdenite Rizzi wanted her store to be on Historic 25th Street. “The history on this street makes it fascinating. That’s the play on our name—Booked on 25th. This used to be a rough-and-tumble place, plenty of people got arrested and taken to jail, so that’s where I got the name of the store.”

While the wild west days of Ogden are no more, Rizzi is proud of her investment in the community. “There are days I have to pinch myself and see if I really do this for a living.”

Marcy’s Top 5 Present Picks


by John Lewis & Andrew Aydin

Last Psalm at Sea Level

by Meg Day

The Monk

by Matthew Gregory Lewis

Edge of Morning: Native Voices Speak for the Bears Ears

by Jacqueline Keeler, Ed.

For Kids:

Dragons Love Tacos

by Adam Rubin

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Ashley Szanter
Ashley Szanter
Ashley Szanter is a contributing writer for Salt Lake magazine as well as a freelance writer and editor. She loves writing about everything Utah, but has a special interest in Northern Utah (here's looking at you, Ogden and Logan).

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