Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Cody's Books Packing Up, Moving to Downtown Berkeley

by Anneli Rufus
Wed, Feb 20, 2008 at 10:40 AM

Cody's Books is moving late next month to downtown Berkeley, where it will occupy the Shattuck Avenue/Allston Way corner formerly occupied by the Eddie Bauer store.

"We have a super-accelerated program" to make the move, Cody's events planner Melissa Mytinger tells me. A refocus is afoot in the new space, she says.

"We are going to divest ourselves of the things that aren't doing that great in the retail book world these days — computer books, for one. The something-for-everyone model is dead and gone," she says. So the staff will, instead, "curate the sections that we feel the strongest about: history, politics, current affairs, and literature." Cody's will continue to carry children's books, young adult literature, travel books, cookbooks, reference titles, and more, along with a new "Green World, Green Living" section.

Why the move? After three years that Mytinger calls the most challenging in Cody's' 52-year history — during which its flagship Telegraph Avenue and ambitious San Francisco stores closed and all business was focused on the remaining Fourth Street store, with longtime owner Andy Ross resigning late last year, "we were hit with a skyrocketing rent increase" at Fourth Street. "It just about doubled and there was no room for negotiation," Mytinger says.

She's overjoyed that Cody's will again be located so close to the UC Berkeley campus. Returning to the campus neighborhood means being able to schedule readings by more authors with a younger fanbase, such as Chuck Palahniuk.

"I would want us to be no place other than on that block," Mytinger says. "It's fabulous."

The public is invited to bring suggestions and comments to an open community meeting at the Fourth Street store at 7 p.m. on February 27.

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