by Tashe House
Much like the book of the same name, The King’s English Bookshop’s faces extinction, as do all independent bookstores. However, The King’s English (the shop, not the book) has a better chance for survival. Much of that likelihood is owed to co-founder, Besty Burton. She is a strong advocate of good old fashioned customer service and the power of local businesses.
During 1977, Burton founded the shop in Salt Lake City, Utah over 35 years ago with a friend, Ann Berman. At the time, they were both aspiring writers and believed they could combine their love of bookstores with their writing ambitions.
Burton’s ambitions evolved, as did her store. She became heavily involved with the preservation of local businesses, so much so that she co-founded Local First, a non-profit organization that promotes the idea that consumer’s purchases should start with their local businesses. Meanwhile, her store evolved into being widely known for its extensive mystery room and children’s room.
The bookseller is also involved with a several community efforts, one being the donation of hundreds of not-for-retail books to the county jail each year. Another endeavor is the contributions of books to Book Wagon, a community outreach program that brings picture books and chapter books to low-income households in Salt Lake County. The shop also participates with a donations program, so when they are interested in supporting a different cause, they can contribute.
The King’s English hosts authors from all over the country, as well as internationally. Certainly, the indie store supports local authors. Those authors include Shannon Hale, Newbery-award winning author of The Princess Academy, James Dashner, author of The Maze Runner, Brandon Sanderson, author of Steelheart and Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series.
Utah’s capital city’s scenery includes corporate buildings nestled against a majestic mountainous landscape. There is a sense of both natural and man-made strength in this vision of Salt Lake City. This vision is replicated in Burton’s natural love for the literary and the evolution of her business savvy. The vision includes the survival of The King’s English Bookshop and many other independent bookstores in the face of mega-chain bookstores and their continued success to be a natural place for readers to visit.
Images courtesy of The King’s English Bookshop
Tashe House is a recent graduate of North Carolina Central University where she majored in English with a concentration in writing. She is currently a Publishing intern for Author’s Boutique and she is excited about entering into a Masters program next fall.