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West Valley City Journal

The Printed Garden

Jun 13, 2016 09:01AM ● By Bryan Scott

Just like reading a good book can take you on a journey, so can working as a bookseller. Aaron Cance’s passion for the book industry goes back 20 years, to 1996, when he was offered his first bookstore job at Crossroad Books, an antiquarian bookseller in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.  With a little experience under his belt, Aaron decided to forge out on his own, and in 2000 Aaron built his own antiquarian book business, Rupert’s Room, selling rare, signed, and unusual titles online.  

Aaron and his wife moved to Salt Lake two years later, bringing the book business with them. It was here he learned the ins and outs of the new book trade, working at Barnes and Noble in Sugarhouse. In 2005, he went back into collectible, rare, and antiquarian books working for Ken Sander Rare Books in downtown Salt Lake City.  The next year Aaron graduated with a master’s degree in British and American Literature from the University of Utah and took an administrative position at The King’s English Bookshop.  “Just when I thought I knew it all,” Aaron said, “I learned more about the new book trade than I ever could have imagined working [in that position] under Anne Holman, co-owner of The King’s English, and Betsy Burton, President of the American Bookseller’s Association and co-owner of The King’s English.” After the great voyage Aaron had made in a booksellers world, he finally opened his newest store, The Printed Garden. 

The Printed Garden is a unique business because what it has on its shelves is not just a product. The shelves are filled with thousands of years’ worth of thoughts, reflections, philosophies, experiences, and imaginings.  The store offers both new and very-gently-used secondhand books. Also for sale are a wide assortment of books that have been signed by their authors, along with many rare titles.  The inventory is rounded out by book-related t-shirts, mugs, puzzles, and other fun and unusual gift items.

One unusual feature of the store is a very comfortable reading room, available for book club meetings, readings, activities, or even just a quiet spot for guests to read.  The Printed Garden is focused on providing hospitality-based business model, making every effort to make visitors feel at home.

Aaron  said “As a lifelong reader and reading advocate, I strongly believe that reading is an essential element of a healthy lifestyle.  Reading helps us to step outside of ourselves and to better understand and identify with the people and world around us by teaching us empathy and compassion.  We learn when we read.  We feel when we read.  We think when we read.”

The Printed Garden encourages young readers through a series of children’s story-times that are free and open to the public. These events include: a weekly general story-time, held every Thursday at 11am; a weekly Adventure and Fantasy story-time, with Children’s Theater actor and storyteller Stephen Hall, held every Friday at 1pm; and a Seuss After School story-time held on the third Wednesday of each month at 5pm with SLC storyteller and Seussian, Rob Eckman. 

To find out more about The Printed Garden you can follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr where you will find book reviews, essays, and announcements of in-store events.  You can also visit their website at for their full calendar.