Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Cody's Books on Telegraph is Closing
Well, the news was as depressing as possible this morning. Cody’s Bookstore on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley will be closing in July, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The store has lost more than $1 million over the last 15 years, according to Andy Ross, the owner, who blamed the decline on the rise of chain stores and the Internet.
Cody’s will still continue at its Fourth Street location and at its new store on Stockton Street in San Francisco. But those two stores don’t have the depth of inventory and feel-free-to-browse atmosphere of the store on Telegraph. The south Berkeley store is an institution, a place that sat square and center in the various liberation movements of the 1960s. It is a half-block from People’s Park, the site of rioting and protests and just a few blocks from Sather Gate, the center of the UC Berkeley campus.
Telegraph Avenue is still a counter-culture environment, which may have contributed to the decline in sales. There are homeless people camped out in the park and it’s impossible to walk more than a few feet without getting a sniff of stale urine or being asked to buy a Street Spirit Magazine. Tie dye and dreadlocks abound. The street is lots of fun for youths and teenagers, but is not a draw for more staid types.
I am going to miss this place. I have gone to countless readings there. When I need a book, I know I can find it at Cody’s. The store carries almost everything, while other independent bookstores often have to order particular titles. This closure, Kepler’s near closure, and the announcement that a Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books is for sale, suggests that these are dark days for independent bookstores in the Bay Area.
IN OTHER NEWS, the New York Times has its take on the feud between the current and past owners of the Pulitzer-Prize winning Pt. Reyes Light.
Posted by Frances at 8:45 AM