The Tattered Cover in Denver already has four well-established contests for kids, including its most popular one—the Children's Bookmark Contest—now in its 14th year. Divided into five categories for grades K through 8, the winning bookmarks are printed in four-color, distributed at both stores starting in May and pictured on the store's Web site (, according to children's event coordinator Bret Bertholf. "Some contests," he acknowledged, "are more successful than others." But even in an off year, Tattered Cover gets at least 50 entries per contest, Bertholf estimates.

This fall, Bertholf will inaugurate a new essay contest for teens in conjunction with Banned Books Week. The store's other competitions are a Scary Story contest for younger children, a Young Writers Short Stories Contest for grades seven to 12, and a Poetry Writing Challenge for students in grades one through 12. To organize all the contests, Bertholf said, "I have boxes for the entries by my desk marked with the name of the contests. We usually get people on staff to help judge."