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Cody's closing

2006-07-10 15:07:32.142784+00 by Dan Lyke 5 comments

Cody's Books on Telegraph Avenue is closing today. They still have the 4th street location, but it looks like the attempts to "clean up" Telegraph along with the trend towards online sales killed 'em.

Along those lines, Lyn pointed towards ParaPublishing's facts and statistics on the book industry. Among the claims:

58% of the US adult population never reads another book after high school.

42% of college graduates never read another book.

80% of US families did not buy or read a book last year.

[ related topics: Books Bay Area ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2006-07-10 17:02:02.270722+00 by: petronius [edit history]

The question I would have about the statistics you cite is this: How do they compare to earlier eras? How many people bought books after leaving school in 1950, say? This guy claims that book sales increased significantly from 1997 to 2004. Are things as bad as we may think?

It is sad places like Cody's are failing to meet new economic demands. However, I can remember when bookstores were just not found in most shopping areas. You may not find Borders or Barnes & Noble as praiseworthy, but they are everywhere. When you add on the Internet, it has never been easier or cheaper to buy a book.

One point about bookstores vs. Amazon: When I know exactly what I'm looking for, I use the net. When I'm not sure what I want to read, I go to a bookstore. I also frequent remainder places like This place and their catalog to find interesting stuff. More choices, more venues.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-07-10 17:19:00.074888+00 by: Dan Lyke

Yeah, I've no idea what historical trends are, although I remember reading somewhere that per-capita sales are down in the century or two range, and various political tracts in the late 1700s sold on the order of half as many copies as there were people in the (former) colonies.

But a lot of that is just the transferrence to TV. Both sets of my grandparents had pianos in their houses, and all of their kids played instruments (and I and all of my siblings played instruments). I know few kids nowadays who play, because we've outsourced entertainment.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-07-11 02:44:03.343568+00 by: Dan Lyke

Oh: I also think that that branch of Cody's shutting down has much more to do with the local politics of trying to "clean up" Telegraph Ave destroying any reason to go there than with the book business in general.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-07-11 16:07:00.385948+00 by: petronius

Good Point, Dan. What, exactly, does "cleaning up Telegraph" entail? I wouldn't think of a bookstore as a blight, unless is specialized in stroke books. What will replace cody's, a Gap or a Bennigans?

#Comment Re: made: 2006-07-11 16:26:09.362739+00 by: Dan Lyke

In this case it wasn't running the bookstore out, it was that Telegraph Avenue had a culture that was very much what we expected Berkeley to be. Punks and hippies stoned and hanging out on the corner, various local characters (including "angry man"), with enough traffic from the university that while that scene could have been slightly threatening (ala the Tenderloin across the Bay) it was a fun place to go play tourist at being truly counter-culture.

In recent years the city council decided to remove the drug dealing, crack down on the street vending, and move the "characters", and then Telegraph Avenue just became a hard place to get to (well off the freeway) with limited parking.

It's kind of like those '60s(?) "Urban Renewal" projects, where razing lots of houses and putting in freeways replaced low income neighborhoods with slums and ghettos.