Friday, January 16, 2009

Autopsy of an independent bookseller.

BusinessWeek has an in-depth article that talks about the rise and fall of Cody's Books, one of the San Francisco Bay Area's most famous independent bookstores.

8 comments:

WendyCinNYC said...

Thanks for posting this. I love my neighborhood bookstore and I would hate to see them go. But I have to say, I don't always support them, either. The lack of selection doesn't bother me--I can wait for them to order it.

I often shop elsewhere because they sell hardcovers almost exclusively, at a price that's a good deal more then I'd pay online. I know, I know, they have to. Doing business in Manhattan is costly. But I'm not always willing to pay double for the same story I can get in trade paperback on bn.com. I feel kind of guilty about that, but then again, it allows me to purchase more books.

The Corner Bookstore stills gets a decent chunk of my change, though, just because I walk by every day and am easily tempted.

Stockyard Queen said...

Mostly, I'm struck by the level of wishful thinking on the part of the owner. He says Amazon had a good business model, but he refused to face what it meant. And opening a third store when he was losing half a million a year already????? That just doesn't make sense.

Hayden Thorne said...

I used to love going to their Telegraph branch for my books. I passed their short-lived Shattuck store on my way to and from work via BART, and seeing their inventory (hardly any) was depressing.

Here's a reverse:

Pegasus Books continues to sell, whereas Barnes and Noble, whose megastore used to be directly across the street from them, shut down and is now Staples. Hopefully Pegasus is doing well, but it was a great thing to see them still on their feet even after B&N came and went.

L.C. Gant said...

I appreciate you posting these types of stories. I wish there were a way for small independent bookseller and big-name chains to coexist peacefully, but it seems the Borders and B&N's of the world are determined to muscle the Cody's and Stacey's out of business. Very sad, and very unfair.

Sherry Ficklin said...

The local bookstore here closed down last year. My friend Gail, the former owner, said she just couldn't compete with Walmart and Barnes and Noble prices and selections. How can a small retailer compete when B&N can purchase 50 copies of a best seller and sell them all at 40%off?

Redactor said...

I spent many a happy hour in Cody's on Telegraph Ave., and later on 4th St. Berkeley hasn't been the same without Cody's, imo. Thanks for highlighting this story.

ElanaJ said...

I watched a television program about this exact thing. I love bookstores, especially indies. Great article.

Emarien said...

Thank you for posting this. I grew up going to the Cody's on Telegraph for all of my books until I moved to the South Bay. I did not realize Cody's had closed. I'm very sorry to see it go.

There's an excellent independent children's bookstore near me, Hicklebees, where I try to get my kids' books as often as possible but it's hard to beat the convenience (location, parking, selection, prices) of the chains.