Support These Indie Bookstores in Denver
Whether it’s fiction, non-fiction, self-help, or otherwise these local establishments have got you covered, literally.
There’s never a bad time to read a book. Whether you’re still out catching rays by the pool or ready to embrace the chill of spooky season, we know you’re reading and listening to whatever you can get your hands on. Though the surge of book fans and critics in the digital age is still booming, the love of a fascinating tale or informative text is not new; and Denver is rife with quaint bookstores that occasionally rival Hallmark movie sets. The styles and selections are varied, from trendy titles and new releases to bargain classics and perfectly preserved antiquarians, but there really is a shop for everyone here. Even so, making the trip to any one of these shops is sure to be a delight—friendly, knowledgeable staff, cozy corners, and a new dog-eared companion are virtually guaranteed at each.
What’s better than a cozy, woman-owned independent book store? One that you can sip wine at while you read. The red-painted corner spot on the charming and foot-traffic-filled Tennyson Street becomes an instant favorite for anyone visiting for the first time. Mosey up to the counter inside for coffee, baked goods, or a glass of red, then browse the shelves and find a spot to get comfy for a few chapters. Be sure not to miss the many readings, open mic nights, and author events, that are constantly loading up the calendar, either.
Tattered Cover Book Store
Colorado’s own bookstore franchise shines brighter than ever with what is now eight outposts spanning Westminster to the Springs. Each location is unique in style,from the intimate Union Station location to the shiny two-floors and plentiful windows of the new McGregor Square spot. But the warm wood and green carpet are always there to greet you whichever one you’re at, as are the many, many shelves of all kinds of books including new releases, staff-curated picks, and classics.
Broadway Book Mall
Out of the ashes of the former Denver Book Mall rose the Broadway Book Mall, with its corner Broadway location slightly akin to Mutiny Information Cafe, but with a whole different vibe inside. Let the smell of old books hit you as you enter and begin to explore shelf after shelf and stack after stack of used books. The Broadway Book Mall is a book-lover’s paradise, and is known chiefly for two things: having a fantastic selection and the friendliest staff. Pop in and stay awhile while leafing through some gems.
Printed Page Bookshop
Totally cute on the outside, wonderfully welcoming (and featuring a vast book selection) on the inside. Welcome to Printed Page on South Broadway, a used bookstore situated in a quaint Victorian house. Wander through shelves and stacks for used books of all kinds, which also includes collectibles, antiquarian books, and other rarities. This place also offers book-collecting classes as well as the chance to sell your books or collections, and many loyal patrons may remember the sweet soul that was the former friendly shop greeter, Lola.
The Bookies Bookstore
A long-standing resource for kids, teachers, and young adults, The Bookies Bookstore has been in operation for more than 50 years. Beginning once as a venture out of original owner Sue Lubeck’s home, the bookstore has remained a place of learning, fun, and all the best things that reading books can bring. Though BookBar recently purchased The Bookies after Lubeck’s passing in 2021, the charm and abundance of the store will remain just as locals love it. Bookies and BookBar are also both Public Benefit Corporations now, meaning community service drives the business, not profit.
Hermitage Antiquarian Bookshop
This bookshop is for the serious bibliophile—the admirer of hand-bound spines, archaic texts, and rare versions of the classics. It’s also one of the oldest bookstores in Denver, first established in 1973 and still going strong. Here is where you truly get that sense of quiet and coziness, minding the fragility of each book as you browse the more than 25,000 titles in inventory. Book-lover, English major, or history buff, you’ll find a reason to love visiting this shop.
Kilgore Books and Comics
Kilgore fits the cool, edgy, and artsy vibe of this stretch of East 13th Ave, sitting next to Wax Trax Records and just a few doors down from Your Mom’s House. The selection here is slightly more niche than some others on this list, but if you’re looking for comics, sci-fi, horror, or indie titles, it’s definitely the place for you. It also functions as a small, independent publisher (mainly of comics), in case you’re finally trying to get that WIP out into the world.
Ever walk into a place that’s just… cool? That was probably Mutiny Information Cafe. If you’ve driven down Broadway ever, you’ve likely spotted the vibrant corner spot, its door open to all guests (old and new) and posters, stickers, and other fun things plastered along the windows. The new and used bookstore has a wide selection of texts, from sci-fi to art books to classic zines, and also other neat stuff like records, pinball machines, and a full coffee bar. The building itself has been in use since 1904, with a storied history behind the businesses that have occupied it pre-Mutiny. Head over for strong coffee, a ton of live events, analog photo booths and, if you’re hungry, maybe a bowl of cereal or three.
Capitol Hill Books
A neighborhood institution, Capitol Hill Books remains a favorite for that full used-book shopping experience. This place has survived a pandemic, a truck careening through the storefront, and still manages to pull through, largely with the help of the community that loves it so. Keep in touch with its socials (or by giving a call or stopping in person) to see what new arrivals they’re stacking, or hang out and flip through a few pages of whatever catches your eye. Not quite sure what to take home? You can choose from a few different tiers of “mystery bundles,” where you choose your genre and any particular preferences and receive a curated box of hand-picked books just for you.
West Side Books
Sure, we’ve seen a ton of Broadway locales and a smattering of those in Cap Hill and beyond. But claiming the Highlands turf is this shop, with its purple brick exterior and devoted patronage. You can find books used and new here, so feel free to wander around until a spine piques your interest or be sure to check in when your favorite author’s newest release hits shelves. There’s always something fun and exciting happening at West Side, from poetry readings to author events, and we’d be remiss not to encourage you to check out its spacious, sunny patio while you crush a few chapters.
Park Hill Community Bookstore
Yet another Denver legacy, this is Denver’s oldest, continuously operated not-for-profit bookstore. Its staff consists entirely of volunteers (who definitely know what they’re doing, so don’t be afraid to ask questions to find what you’re looking for) and the shop is well-known for its community and local charity partnerships, especially when it comes to donating unsold books. Comprising three floors (a loft, main floor, and basement), you’ll find over 17,000 texts that are often sold for total bargains. While you’ll find a small portion of new releases here, you’re definitely taking a trip for the friendly atmosphere, regular events, and exceptional selection of used titles.
You must, by now, be sensing a theme running down South Broadway. Well, here’s one more bookstore residing on the classic shopping strip. After you’ve taken a moment to appreciate the play of the shop’s name, let yourself explore its fresh, new space that occupies a storefront just 1.5 miles down the road from the original red-painted brick. Nothing’s changed on the inside, of course—just a ton of used books in great condition and at reasonable prices to boot. Itching to study metaphysics? Need a new fantasy adventure in your life? Whatever your pleasure, you’re sure to find it here. And even if the title isn’t there in the flesh (er, paper?), you’re more than likely to find it through Farenheit’s online inventory.
Shop at MATTER
This one’s for the creatives. And, well, really anyone looking for a place to feel immediately and sincerely welcome. Shop at MATTER is a black- and woman-owned indie bookstore that sells way more than books, so prepare to go a little over your anticipated budget when you visit. Browse the many titles (often ones that encourage you to think, feel, and occasion change), grab a few gifts for your friends and a few just for you (think: wonderfully sassy stationary, dazzling art prints, and charming home decor), and take a second simply to appreciate the awesome vibe that this small biz radiates. Can’t make it to the brick-and-mortar? The online shop never closes.