Tattered Cover Bookstore sold to Colorado-based investors

The independent bookstore announced Wednesday it has changed hands.

The Tattered Cover on Colfax. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The Tattered Cover on Colfax. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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The Tattered Cover has sold to a local investment team.

Len Vlahos and Kristen Gilligan have sold the 49-year-old independent book store to the Colorado-based Bended Page LLC. Billed in a statement as “national bookselling and publishing experts,” Bended Page is owned by Kwame Spearman and David Back.

“The Tattered Cover, and all it embodies for us as Denver natives — reading, learning, the independent spirit, buying local, and most importantly community and connection — are the ingredients that drew up to this endeavor,” Spearman said in the statement.” As we approach Tattered Cover’s 50th anniversary, we are honored and excited to invest in this important community treasure and ensure it remains a piece of the Colorado experience for generations to come.”

Tattered Cover is now the largest Black-owned bookstore in the country. Here’s what its new owners have to say about the store’s future.

While local bookstores across the country shuttered in recent years, falling victim to lower prices offered by Amazon, Tattered Cover remained steadfast in its role as a locally owned shop known for drawing revered authors to Denver for book signings.

Over the summer, the bookstore drew criticism after it released a statement explaining why it had “been quiet” in the wake of protests over George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis and subsequent rallies against racism and police brutality. It later issued an apology for the statement that read in part, “We are horrified at having violated your trust. We deserve your outrage and disappointment.”

It continued: “There must be systemic change at the local, state, and national level. Tattered Cover will be part of this change, and we will hold ourselves accountable to our ever evolving community. Thank you for helping bring us to this place, and again, we are sorry. Len & Kristen.”

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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