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Literary City Spotlight: 6 Independent Bookstores to Visit in Denver

Denver, Colorado stands out as a haven for artists and writers of all kinds. With mountainous views, snowy weather, and tons of arts and culture sites, Denver offers both opportunities for picturesque, indoor reflection and vibrant exploration. Along with its many museums, its hiking trails, and its envious restaurant scene, Denver attracts visitors and continues to charm residents with a plethora of unique, well-stocked independent bookstores. Here are a few of our favorites. 

 

Tattered Cover

Established in Denver in 1971, this local literary venture has become a wild success, expanding to include four locations throughout the Denver area. Tattered Cover promises loyal customers an awesome membership program, recommends new books in all genres—from a cookbook of the month to a picture book of the month—and is a leader in hosting book-related events. Their current lineup includes Amanda Lovelace, poet and author of shine your icy crown, who will participate in a livestream with the renowned institution on Feb. 13.

 

Printed Page Bookshop

One of the best reviewed bookstores in all of Denver, Printed Page Bookshop will make your bookish and aesthetic Instagram dreams come true: The shop runs out of a whimsical Victorian house. Printed Page Bookshop describes their business as “relationship-based,” with conversations about books and personal recommendations fueling every visit. Along with this personal touch, Printed Page Bookshop seriously ups the used bookstore experience—their founder graduated from The Colorado Antiquarian Book School, and booksellers on staff have a combined 100 years of rare book experience.

 

BookBar

Dubbed “a bookshop for wine lovers,” BookBar specializes in comforting literary and wine pairings. BookBar is the perfect refuge when you want your reading to be a relaxing, luxurious experience: Sip a beverage of your choice and indulge in decadent desserts. In addition to these benefits for their shoppers, BookBar cares about benefiting the overall community. Ten percent of all purchases go to the store’s associated nonprofit, BookGive, which distributes books to underserved populations in the area.

 

Kilgore Books

Branching out to different genres can be seriously helpful for poets, as well as mark a way for them to occasionally step away from their craft and practice self care. Kilgore Books, which has a focus on comics, is that colorful and delightfully nerdy escape. Whether you’re just getting into comics or you pride yourself on being a long-term collector, you’ll find something you want at Kilgore Books. For those with an adventurous spirit, the store sells mystery packs of eight comic books for just $16.

 

Gallagher Collection Books

Located on Denver’s Historic Antique Row, Gallagher Books is an oasis for that type of bibliophile who loves the smell of used books and often contemplates becoming a librarian. The store specializes in “rare, unusual, out-of-print books, vintage posters, and library-related antiques.” Go find that prized collectible or must-have to add to your collection. Gallagher Books is a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America, the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers, and the Rocky Mountain Antiquarian Booksellers Association. 

 

Matter

As Denver’s beloved Black-owned bookstore, Matter is a haven for readers, writers, and creatives. The shop offers not only books, but eccentric and charming related goods—from whimsical candles and coasters to cute office supplies and bookish accessories. Matter similarly curates their book offerings: the store specializes in fascinating and deeply important topics like Black history, queer studies, literature from the African diaspora, art history, and more. 

 

Want to check out the reading and writing scene in other cities? Read Poetry’s feature on Kansas City, Missouri continues the spotlight on Midwestern literary hubs.