Last chapter

Cody’s Books on Telegraph is closing!!

The demise of a retail store rarely elicits an outpouring of sadness from its community, but when Andy Ross announced last month that he would be closing Cody’s Books on Telegraph Avenue after years of diminishing sales, Berkeley and Bay Area book lovers responded with shock and grief.

The famously independent bookstore has been an intellectual and cultural touchstone in Berkeley for nearly five decades, hosting readings by world-renowned writers and carrying academic tomes not typically found in other bookstores.

I can’t believe it. Cody’s has been a Berkeley institution for decades, and I expected it to be around for decades to come. I know that thanks to chain stores, and other online bookshops, and probably the decline in book-reading in general, times have been tough for independent booksellers for a while now, but I never thought that such a landmark as Cody’s — in as book-loving a city as Berkeley — would ever be in danger. But Cody’s owner is citing “years of diminishing sales” as his reason for closing, so it looks like, sadly, even Berkeley’s most cherished bookstores are not immune.

To be completely honest, as far as the actual buying of books was concerned, I always preferred used-book-friendly Moe’s or Pegasus on Shattuck to Cody’s, but I went into Cody’s often enough to shop or just browse. It was on my regular walk home from campus, so if I had a bit of extra time or it was just too beautiful a day not to linger, as often seemed to be the case in Berkeley, I would stop in at Cody’s. I liked to look at the foreign-language magazines, the history books, the sale books, the children’s section, the blank journals, the funny stuffed authors (like stuffed animals, only Shakespeare instead of bears) near the cash register. Outside, I loved walking by the flower stand, with its gorgeous flowers that I could never bring myself to buy… I wonder what will happen to that stand now if Cody’s is going away?

Cody’s gave such life and character to that corner of Telegraph. I can’t imagine that it will be the same after it is gone.

[This post was imported on 4/10/14 from my old blog at Come to think of it, I haven’t been by the old Cody’s location since I heard this news. What’s there now, I wonder?]