The Tattered Cover is a bookstore in Denver, Colorado, and one of the largest independent bookstores in the United States. Its original location was in the Cherry Creek district of Denver with a second branch, purchased in 1990, renovated and opened for business in 1994 in Denver's historic LoDo (lower downtown) district. In November, 2004, Tattered Cover opened a third location in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. The Cherry Creek location closed in June 2006, and moved to the newly renovated, long-defunct Lowenstein Theater on Denver's Colfax Avenue. In addition, since 1995 the Cherry Creek location had been home to The Fourth Story Restaurant & Bar.
The Tattered Cover is open 7 days a week, hosts prominent book signings, and is renowned for its customer service. Its LoDo store houses an events space which can seat over 250, while its Highlands Ranch store can seat up to 400 and its Colfax store can seat around 100. Together, the stores maintain an inventory of over half a million books.
The Tattered Cover was opened in 1971, and purchased in 1974 by Joyce Meskis when it was still a small 950 sq.ft. bookshop. Like many independent bookstores, the Tattered Cover is a member of the American Booksellers Association and Meskis served as president of that organization in the early 1990's. Meskis is a former board member of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression and is also the recipient of The William J. Brennan, Jr. Award from the The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression
In 2000 the store resisted, on First Amendment grounds, a search warrant for records related to purchases made by a customer suspected of illegally manufacturing methamphetamine. The case made national news, and was eventually decided in the store's favor by the Colorado Supreme Court. Officers were attempting to establish a connection between the suspect and books they found on how to manufacture the drug. The purchase in question was later revealed to be of a book on Japanese calligraphy.