Books Inc. to Open Berkeley Branch

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday August 06, 2009 - 10:36:00 AM

There’s finally some good news for book lovers in Berkeley.  

Books Inc., which calls itself the oldest independent bookseller on the West Coast, announced Aug. 5 that it plans to open at a new location on Fourth Street in October. The bookshop will be located at 1760 Fourth St., the site currently occupied by NapaStyle. 

In the last few years Berkeley has seen the demise of well-known bookstores such as Cody’s—which had stores on Telegraph, Fourth Street and, for a while, downtown—and the closing of Black Oak Books on North Shattuck, leaving bibliophiles with fewer places to browse in the city. 

Although Black Oak owner Gary Cornell hopes to reopen in a new location, he has not announced any plans yet.  

Founded in the middle of the California Gold Rush, Books Inc.’s history dates back to 1851, when Anton Roman became rich in Shasta City and built a bookstore, which was “moved, bought, sold, burned, rebuilt, renamed and became Books Inc. in 1946.” 

Books Inc. has changed hands several times in the last five decades and at one point was forced to close 10 of its stores and declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy due to competition from national book chains. 

It bounced back in 1997 and has been on an upward spiral since then. 

Books Inc.’s Berkeley location will be its twelfth. It currently has bookstores all over the San Francisco Bay Area and Anaheim, and employs 400 people. 

Books Inc. co-owner and CEO Michael Tucker attributed the “right location, the right lease and the right landlord for allowing expansion in this challenging economic climate.”  

“We are committed to have this location bring Fourth Street’s book-buying community experienced, knowledgeable booksellers, diverse, interesting events and a book selection that will reflect the neighborhood’s character,” said Tucker, who grew up in Berkeley. 

Tucker and Books Inc. co-owner and Vice-President Nikolai Grant signed a lease for the new location Aug. 5 and plan to start construction Sept. 1. 

For updates on when the store will open keep checking www.booksinc.