Salt Lake City is For Lovers: Introducing LoveBound Library 

“I sort of thought it was every little girl’s dream to open a bookstore,” says Courtney Stookey, owner of a new romance-focused bookstore in the Maven District. Occupying the former Curiosity shop, Lovebound Library has been in business for just under two months and readers are already lauding it as a playfully inclusive space. “Every day is a surprise, and I love how people can come in and have these heartfelt conversations about books they love.” 

Stookey, who previously worked in Client Relations for O.C. Tanner Jewelers for seven years, has been an avid reader since childhood. Like many recent romance enthusiasts, she discovered an affinity for the genre during lockdown. “It became an escape from the heaviness, when I just wanted something lighthearted and hopeful, I could escape inside my romance books,” she says. Delving further and further into the community, she started to take note of niche book shops around the country that focus entirely on romance and erotica, “I thought—how amazing would that be to have here in Salt Lake?” When a spot in the Maven District became available, she knew it was now or never. Joining the neighborhood’s thriving roster of locally-owned small businesses, Stookey feels particularly grateful for the support of her fellow female business owners. “There’s so much support from the Maven team and other businesses in this area,” she says. “It’s really special to be a part of this growing community.” 

Lovebound’s opening day was further proof that Salt Lake is a prime location for niche interests, and filled with readers eager to explore the genre. “The first four hours of our first day you couldn’t even move in here, it was so packed!” Stookey laughs. It’s not hard to see why Lovebound has drawn such a dedicated community. The quaint shop is packed with personality—colorful floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, plush seating, neon lighting, and all the trinkets a romance reader could ask for (ACOTAR candles and witty stickers included). Apart from its Instagram-worthy interiors, Lovebound exudes a welcoming vibe that assures even the most timid of romance readers that they’ve found their tribe. “A few weeks ago I had some new customers come in, and as they were browsing I heard one of the girls say, ‘I feel so safe here’,” Stookey recalls with a smile. “That was such a validating and important moment that has stuck with me.” 

Lovebound Library
Lovebound Library

At its core, Lovebound is a fun, judgment-free environment for readers to explore everything romance has to offer. And while some books might lean toward a light-hearted story of enemies to lovers, others explore complex themes of loss, adversity and redemption. And for many, romance offers a powerful avenue for readers to explore their own sexuality and sensuality. “Romance can give people an outlet to become more sexually empowered,” Stookey says. “I think that’s particularly powerful in a state like Utah that is conservative in so many ways.” Connecting with readers through complex character relationships is exactly what’s made the genre so popular, especially with the rise of Booktok and other social media trends. Over the past three years the sale of printed romance novels has increased by 117% and have generated over $1.44 billion in revenue, making it the highest-earning genre of fiction. Such a beloved medium deserves more than to be shoved in the dark corner of Barnes and Noble, and its book lovers like Stookey who are stepping up to the plate. 

Where romance readers might have once been met with sneers and shame, they’re now pronouncing their love for the genre loudly and proudly. So when you’re ready to dip your toes into the world of romance, or get hooked on your next spicy novel, Lovebound Library is waiting with open arms. 

If You Go…

Lovebound Library
145 E 900 S, SLC
Open Tue—Sat 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Avrey Evans
Avrey Evans
Avrey Evans is the Digital and the Nightlife Editor of Salt Lake Magazine. She has been writing for city publications for six years and enjoys covering the faces and places of our salty city, especially when a boozy libation is concerned.

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