Ken Sanders Rare Books is a full service antiquarian bookshop in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. We carry an ever-changing inventory of art, ephemera, maps, photography, and postcards in addition to a vast selection of used and rare books along with a few new books. We also purchase and appraise books. New arrivals and acquisitions are posted to the KSRB website first on Saturday mornings. The inventory will then be posted to the other sites we use abebooks.com, alibris.com, and biblio.com later in the following week. 

We have a lot of our inventory online, but many of the items in our store never get catalogued, so be sure to visit our downtown shop (268 South 200 East, SLC, UT) or call us (801-521-3819) if you are searching for something in particular.

Our inventory is diverse, and our specialties include Edward Abbey, Wallace Stegner, B. Traven, Utah and the Mormons, Modern First Editions, Grand Canyon, Colorado River & Colorado Plateau, Western Americana, Native Americans, The Intermountain West, Southwest, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Wilderness & National Parks, Public Lands, the Environment, Explorations & Surveys, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and the Literary West.


RIP Charles Bowden 

America lost one of its most passionate and fearless writers and social critics yesterday. After suffering a recurring illness, Charles Bowden was found dead in his home in Las Cruces, New Mexico by his longtime partner, Molly Molloy.

He was 69 years old and had been speaking and writing the truth, as he saw it for all of those years. A lone voice crying in the wilderness, he was the first American to speak and write about the killings in Juarez and has been relentlessly writing about the drug trade on both sides of the border for more than twenty years now. From his first book, Killing the Hidden Waters, to his last, El Sicario, he articulated what he saw happening to his beloved southwest in a language all his own; a southwest that encompassed all people and no borders. It was real simple, you follow?

Chuck Bowden is dead. His words, along with his friends and lovers live on. Ignore him at your own peril.

I have been privileged to know Chuck for more than thirty years.  I learned long ago that if Chuck told me about a person, a place, a thing, a book, an artist - hell, anything. There was a reason...pay attention!  You follow?

Lies in the Desert 

That's what I do. I put words down on pieces of paper. I may not be the best person for the job, but frankly, I've never seen the job listed in the classified ads. I kind of made up the job as I went along. I use this place, this desert, as my springboard because here the past is rich, the ground is honest and the future is as naked and plain as the broken fence we call our border, as naked and plain as the dead rivers, as naked and plain as the butchered desert disappearing under pavement. You can live here and lie, but still, it is not as easy to lie here. Here lies are more naked, the earth itself rebukes the lies. Here you can see what is happening. The light is very bright here and you either look at things clearly, or you turn your back and pull the shades. But you can hardly say you don't know what is going on. That is the blessing of this place. And in the end the duty this place imposed on each and every one of us who lives here.

-Charles Bowden (Written on the occasion of the opening of the new downtown Salt Lake City Library, February 2003)

Selected bibliography:

-Killing the Hidden Waters (1977)
-Street Signs Chicago: Neighborhood and Other Illusions of Big City Life (1981)
-Blue Desert (1986)

-Frog Mountain Blues (1987)

-Mezcal (1988)
-Red Line (1989)
-Desierto: Memories of the Future (1991)

-The Sonoran Desert (1992)

-The Secret Forest (1993)

-Trust Me:Charles Keating and the Missing Billions (1993)

-Blood Orchid: An Unnatural History of America (1995)
-Chihuahua: Pictures From the Edge (1996)

-Stone Canyons of the Colorado Plateau (1996)

-The Sierra Pinacate (1998)
-Juarez: The Laboratory of our Future (1998)
-Down by the River: Drugs, Money, Murder, and Family (2002)
-Blues for Cannibals (2002)
-A Shadow in the City: Confessions of an Undercover Drug Warrior (2005)
-Inferno (2006)
-Exodus (2008)
-Trinity (2009)
-Some of the Dead are Still Breathing: Living in the Future (2009)
-Murder City: Ciudad Juarez and the Global Economy's New Killing Fields (2010)
-Dreamland: The Way Out of Juarez (2010)

-El Sicario: The Autobiography of a Mexican Assassin (2011)

Ken Sanders Rare Books will be seeking a new home.

July 15, 2014

Dear Friends and Patrons of Ken Sanders Rare Books,

Sometime in the next 3-5 years our bookshop will be relocating. Over the past year our landlord has thrown us (and the rest of our East Broadway neighbors) under the developmental bus. The entire northwest corner at 300 South and 200 East has been taken over by a real estate developer. We have enjoyed being here for the past seventeen years and I have always known that this day would come. The low rent that we have paid over the years here has enabled the bookshop to grow from a small operation, with my daughter Melissa and myself being the only employees, to a large thriving bookshop with six full-time employees: Kent & Katie Tschanz, Travis Low, Esther Cannon, James Long and myself -- along with Melissa Sanders part-time and doing her own thing with Red Queen Book Arts, which is just around the corner from us and will likewise be affected by the development. 

We would very much like to stay in the downtown area, but we may not be able to afford it. Bookshops have traditionally thrived in low rent districts of downtown areas in cities across America. We require lots of square footage, but can't afford to pay market rates. Going forward, we would like to find a new home with 4,000 - 6,000 square feet of space and ample parking. We believe we have at least three years to find a new home, but we have already started to look around for available spaces that will work for us.

Don't be alarmed by this news; the bookshop is healthy and thriving. In many ways a new home will enable us to go forward to the next generation. I am committed to the process of finding a new home for us, prior to my fading off into the sunset. We have teamed up with Vasilios Priskos and his Internet Properties team. No one knows downtown real estate better than Vasilios and we are hopeful that he and his team can get us into that fabled new home. Given our needs for lots of space at a modest rate, it isn't going to be easy. I invite any of you to be a part of the process, and when the time comes, we'll be sure to call upon you to come help us move all of these bloody books! Better yet, come buy them now and that problem will be solved!


Ken Sanders, on behalf of Kent & Katie Tschanz, Travis Low, Esther Cannon, James Long, and of course, Melissa Sanders.

Katie Lee's new book, The Ghosts of Dandy Crossing, is now available from Dream Garden Press! 

Customers may order the book here. If you are a bookseller, please contact us directly via e-mail or phone for bulk ordering.

"Katie is an un-equaled storyteller, one of our most important folk singers for the last seventy years, and a writer-activist who has always been on the front lines of the vanishing West. She rode the rivers, and has lived what others only dream of. To read Katie Lee is to read great and true history not besotted with the bullshit of academic historians." -Tom Russell.

We will be exhibiting at the following book fairs in the summer and fall, hope to see you there!


Pasadena Antiquarian Book, Print, Photo and Paper Fair

October 4th & 5th, 2014

Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 11am-4pm

The Pasadena Center

300 East Green Street

Pasadena, CA



Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair

October 11th & 12th, 2014

Saturday 10am - 6pm, Sunday 11am-4pm

Seattle Center Exhibition Hall

(North Side of Seattle Center)

Mercer Street, just East of 3rd Ave N

Seattle, WA



Houston Book Fair

November 8th

Saturday, 10am-5pm

Museum of Printing History - Houston, TX


Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair

November 14th - 16th

Friday 5pm-9pm, Saturday Noon-7pm, Sunday, Noon-5pm

Hynes Convention Center - Boston, MA




Catalogue #47 is here!

You can view and download a copy of Catalogue 45 here.

If you would like a physical copy of the catalogue mailed to you (free of charge),
please contact us!

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