Aw, shit. Cody's Books, the half-century-old Berkeley bookstore that has long been an East Bay institution — one of the truly great west coast stores — has closed its doors forever.
After 52 years, Cody's Books will shut its doors effective June 20, 2008. The Berkeley bookstore has been a beacon to readers and writers throughout the nation and across the world. Founded by Fred and Pat Cody in 1956, Cody's has been a Berkeley institution and a pioneer in the book business, helping to establish such innovations as quality paperbacks and in-store author readings. Throughout the 1960s and 70s, Cody's was a landmark of the Free Speech movement and was a home away from home for innumerable authors, poets and readers.
The Board of Directors of Cody's Books made this difficult decision after years of financial distress and declining sales.
According to Cody's president, Hiroshi Kagawa, "[It] is a heartbreaking momentâ€¦in the spring of 2005 when I learned about the financial crisis facing Cody's, I was excited to save the store from bankruptcy. Unfortunately, my current business is not strong enough or rich enough to support Cody's. Of course, the store has been suffering from low sales and the deficit exceeds our ability to service it."
It was an incredible honor to stop at Cody's for a signing on my book tour last month — I'm really glad I got a chance to connect with the wonderful staff and patrons there while the store was still around.