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NEWS FLASH: Cody's on Telegraph to Close

Tuesday May 09, 2006

Blaming big chain and Internet booksellers, as well as a lack of help from the city, Andy Ross, owner and president of Cody’s Books, Inc., has announced he’s shutting down Cody’s oldest store on Telegraph Avenue in July. 

The following is a statement, rel eased Tuesday, from the store announcing the closing. For more on the story, see Friday’s print issue of the Daily Planet. 


May 10, 2006 –  

Andy Ross, owner and president of Cody’s Books, Inc., has announced that Cody’s oldest store, on Telegraph Avenue near the University of California in Berkeley, will close its doors on July 10, 2006.  

Cody’s Books on Fourth Street i n Berkeley and Cody’s Stockton Street in San Francisco, as well as Cody’s School and Book Fair division, remain open, healthy, and intent upon continuing to provide the best of independent bookselling.  

Ross noted the fifteen-year sales decline in the south-of-campus area, resulting in Cody’s Telegraph Avenue doing only one-third of the business it did in 1990. The company’s attempt to keep this store open has caused a loss of over $1,000,000.  

“It is with a heavy heart that I must announce that Cody’s will be closing our doors at the Telegraph Avenue store for the last time on July 10. We will continue to operate our stores on Fourth Stree t in Berkeley and on Stockton Street in San Francisco.  

The Telegraph store has been declining in sales for more t han 15 years. We are now doing only 1/3 of the business that we did here in 1990. We have lost over $1,000,000 attempting to keep the store open. As a family business, we cannot continue to afford these ruinous losses.  

The book business has changed over this period. Many of our customers have found other sources for their books. In particular, the Internet has taken quite a bite out of sal es, particularly the scholarly and academic titles that have always been our specialty.  

This is Cody’s 50th year i n business and our 43rd year at this location. During this period, Cody’s has been engaged in the great issues of our time. As America inc reasingly turned to huge mass merchants and disembodied Internet retailers in their buying habits, Cody’s always urge d people to support stores in their communities.  

During the 60’s, Cody’s was part of the great anti-war movement that began in Berkeley. In 1989, we were the first victim of international terrorism in the United States. We were bombed during the Rushdie Affair. After the bombing, Cody’s staff voted unanimously to continue carrying The Satanic Verses, even in the face of threats to our li ves. This was a great and heroic act of commitment to humanistic values by simple booksellers. It was truly our finest hour. 

Throughout this period, we spoke of the dangers of economic concentration in bookselling on the part of chain stores. Sadly our w arnings have come to pass. Stores like Cody’s have become truly rare. The few that remain are cherished by their commu nities.  

Cody’s is an idea, not a building. That idea will endure in our other stores on Fourth Street and in San Francisco.  

We leave Telegraph with great sadness, but with a sense of honor that we have served our customers and our community with such distinction; and that in our own way, we have changed the world for the better and will continue to do so.  

Thank you, dear customers, for giving us that opportunity.” – Andy Ross