The Upside: Ken Sanders gets a reprieve! (Plus: Listen to Ken tonight)

Salt Lake City’s iconic Ken Sanders Rare Books has escaped execution at the last minute, thanks, kind of, to the coronavirus.

“It’s not permanent—everything is on hold,” says Sanders from the store. The developer who owns the property where Sanders’ famous store stands is dreaming of another (yawn) mixed-use development. Or— maybe?—working with the state on another downtown DABC store. The truth depends on who you talk to.
Bookstores of any kind are rare these days and independent bookstores rarer still, relics of a slower and more literate time. To lose Sanders’ accumulated store of history and oddities would be like losing part of the city’s memory, comparable only to losing the historic collection at the Marriott Library.


So rejoice! Drink another bottle of champagne (by yourself, sorry) and toast the life of the mind.

In any case, retail treasures like Ken Sanders’ are in extreme straits. “I’ve had three employees quarantined but I still keep them on the payroll,” says Sanders. “But 80 percent of our usual money is not coming in. We’re not open to the public. The institutions we do business with are on hold.”
So although it’s good news that the old store won’t be scraped any day now, its’ bad news because the store isn’t making money.
But they could, if you BOUGHT A BOOK. Just go to
“We’ll deliver, we’ll ship it to for free,” says Sanders.
The best thing you could do? Buy a gift certificate. Buy one now, use it later. “We’ll reward for more than you pay—$125 for a $100 gift certificate,” says Sanders.
Ken Sanders, owner of Ken Sanders Rare Books, will be reading nonsense poetry from Alice in Wonderland tonight at 7. Go to the website or YouTube and tune in for something more bizarre than reality and a lot more fun.
Mary Brown Malouf
Mary Brown Malouf
Mary Brown Malouf is the late Executive Editor of Salt Lake magazine and Utah's expert on local food and dining. She still does not, however, know how to make a decent cup of coffee.

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