Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Story by Michael Taylor writing in the San Francisco Chronicle, June 23, 2008

Cody's, landmark Berkeley bookstore, closes
Cody's Books, the legendary Berkeley bookstore that catered to literati nationwide for more than half a century and was firebombed in the 1980s because of its support of the First Amendment, has closed its doors, the victim of lagging sales.

The bookstore, which in recent years had closed its flagship store on Telegraph Avenue and its branches in San Francisco and on Berkeley's Fourth Street, finally settling in early April in one store on Shattuck Avenue, shuttered that store Friday.

Calling it "a heartbreaking moment," Cody's owner, Hiroshi Kagawa of the Japanese firm IBC Publishing, said in a statement, "unfortunately, my current business is not strong enough or rich enough to support Cody's."
"Cody's is my treasure and more than that, Cody's is a real friend of (the) Berkeley community and will be missed," Kagawa said.

Pat Cody, one of the store's co-founders, said the closing "makes me very sad. We worked so hard and we put so much into it, and it meant a lot to the community. It's a big loss."

The death knell was sounded a few months ago, when the rent on Cody's store on Fourth Street was nearly tripled, according to general manager Mindy Galoob, "so we moved really fast over to Shattuck. We were hopeful it would work out. We had downsized our staff and had a smaller inventory." But sales "were not anywhere near what was needed."

Andy Ross, who owned the store from 1977 until mid-2006, when he sold it to Kagawa, said Sunday about the closing, "It's no mystery - what's happened to Cody's is what has happened to independent stores for many years. People are going somewhere else (for books). A lot of people like the allure of the Internet or chain stores. And a lot of people don't read.

No comments: