Cathy Langer, the director of buying for Denver’s Tattered Cover Book Store, will retire in March 2018. The announcement was made by the store’s co-owners on Wednesday, March 15. Langer, who oversees buying for all four Tattered Cover locations, is ending a 40-year career with the store.
“Since joining Tattered Cover straight out of Colorado College, Cathy has unfailingly demonstrated her knowledge of the readers’ potential interest and her ability to be in touch with it,” said Tattered Cover owner Joyce Meskis. “That speaks to her abilities as a bookseller and buyer, but Cathy’s contribution has extended well beyond that special talent. She has worn many hats in her service to the community, the book industry, and Tattered Cover. Her strong work ethic, humanity to those in personal need, and her organizational leadership have served as an inspiration to others. And her dedication to the work of the Tattered Cover, through years of challenges and change, has been invaluable in marking a place for our stores in the years to come.”
Langer was hired by Meskis in 1977 and, except for a five-year hiatus after the birth of her first child, has worked continuously for the organization ever since. During the course of her career, she has held a variety of positions, with the greatest focus on buying.
Langer has served as member of the American Booksellers Association Board of Directors, president of the Colorado Center for the Book, and president of the Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association.
Tattered Cover CEO Len Vlahos, the store’s incoming co-owner with wife Kristen Gilligan, said, “Kristen and I first got to know Cathy during her tenure on the ABA Board. It was clear to us right away what a special person and special bookselling talent Cathy was. Everyone at Tattered Cover owes a debt of gratitude to Cathy for helping to make this business into the iconic institution it is today, and Kristen and I owe Cathy a debt for helping make our transition into the Tattered Cover family so seamless.”
“Cathy Langer is a bookseller par excellence and she epitomizes the very best of what independent booksellers do,” said ABA CEO Oren Teicher. “Cathy was one of the first people I met in the book business more than 25 years ago, and her contributions to the Tattered Cover and to bookselling have been extraordinary. All of us at ABA remain grateful for her conscientious and effective service on our Board. After 40 years, Cathy is entitled to some time off, but all of us will miss her a great deal.”
Gayle Shanks, the co-owner of Changing Hands Bookstores in Tempe and Phoenix, Arizona, and a colleague of Langer’s on the ABA Board, said, “Our shared love of books and bookselling brought us together. I cherish her knowledge, her passion, the breadth of her reading and her love for the books we have shared with each other over the years. I'm jealous that she is retiring and know that her legacy at Tattered Cover will live on with her successor and those of us who will still write her and say, ‘Have you read the new...’ And she will have.”
Stephanie Coleman, Tattered Cover’s buyer of adult frontlist titles, will succeed Langer as director of buying in March 2018. Coleman has been with Tattered Cover for four years.