2714538989_9532d3e635Given the sad state of current economic affairs, it comes as no surprise that independent bookstores are suffering a tortuous drought at the bottom of the food chain. Remember when we mourned Cody’s Books closure in June 2008? It was certainly not the first instance of a local bookseller losing business to the proliferation of online stores and ubiquitious chains–nor was it by any means the last.

It’s an unfortunate reality that renders last week’s opening of a Books Inc. location in Berkeley (not far, in fact, from Cody’s Books’ previous turf) all the more auspicious. Indeed, the independent chain, which now has 10 stores scattered throughout the Bay and one in southern California, serves as something of a beacon of hope for any and all bookworms who have ever waxed nostalgic on literary days of yore.

In accounting for Books Inc.’s successful tenacity, Hut Landon, the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association’s executive director, explains: read more »


catBlack Oak Books, once providing the perfect location for post-Cheeseboard-meal book shopping, is officially moving out

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. It seems times are tough, and the store is packing up and looking for greener pastures … or cheaper retail space, as it were.

The new location doesn’t appear to have been officially confirmed, although there has been talk of a move to the intersection of Dwight & San Pablo Avenues. We can only hope that this move will go well and the store will reopen in its full labyrinthine glory at its new location.

However, we can’t help noticing certain similarities between this move and the throes of closing-reopening agony Cody’s Books went through last year before finally succumbing to its wounds. Not that the trend is altogether surprising—given that the current economic downturn seems to be compounding the bookstore-annihilating forces already wielded by Amazon.com.

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Black Oak Books Moves [Berkeley Daily Planet

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Cody’s Books has called it quits for real this time, shutting down its remaining store on Shattuck Avenue. Citing lagging sales, Cody’s closed its doors on Friday, June 20. A while back, the flagship store on Telegraph Avenue was closed down; more recently, the store on Fourth Street jumped to Shattuck after a large rent increase. The branches in San Francisco have also been closed.

The Chron had more information on the details of the closing:

Andy Ross, who owned the store from 1977 until mid-2006, when he sold it to (Hiroshi) Kagawa, said about last week’s 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.”

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Keeping our fingers crossed.

Take heed, oh readers, for the latest exciting episode in the Cody’s Books drama has unfolded. The bookstore’s location on Fourth Street closes in a few weeks, moves, and reopens again at a new site. At the end of March, the retailer flings open its doors to a bigger, better clientèle–and what human masses are bigger or better than the ones that cycle day-in and day-out through the downtown Berkeley BART station, situated but across the street from Cody’s new, prospective location?

That’s right–the ghost of Eddie Bauer will linger no longer. To the delight of book lovers and pavement loiterers alike, the new Cody’s opens on the corner of Allston Way and Shattuck Avenue on Mar. 24. Citing “skyrocketing rents” on Fourth Street–the world manages not to slide off its axis in collective shock–Cody’s store managers hope that revenues and foot traffic will benefit from Berkeley’s swingin’ downtown nightlife. Oxymoronic? Nah.

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