Saturday, July 26, 2008

Retailing reading in the East Bay, cont.

So DeLauer's didn't go under after all. Two Oakland business partners bought the century-old 24-hour newsstand and plan to spruce it up by opening a cafe with wifi and increasing security.
I drove by Cody's on Shattuck last weekend and its doors were locked and lights turned off, though the inventory remains stocked. The venerable bookstore wasn't the only retailer to fail in downtown Berkeley, as Seth Roberts recently noted. Opening in Berkeley's economically flat retail district probably didn't help the company survive, and Amazon likely accelerated the store's demise, but it also appears to have been a mistake to expand into two very expensive retail districts--4th St. in Berkeley, and Union Square in San Francisco--at a time when brick-and-mortar bookstores weren't exactly flourishing, especially if the Telegraph store remained in the black.
Despite the closing, a local author was intent on not missing his reading:
A week ago Monday night, three days after the store closed, Cody's brought together its very last writer and reader. The writer was me. I was scheduled to give a reading from my thriller, "Hooked." Even though I knew the store was shuttered, I showed up at Cody's just in case some prospective readers came too, expecting the show to go on.
One reader did. Wearing a boiled wool yellow jacket, she stood with her arms crossed, reading a white sign on Cody's locked door explaining that management could no longer afford to stay in business.
"Are you here for the reading?" I asked.
She nodded.