Cody's, landmark Berkeley bookstore, closes

Cody’s, the legendary bookstore that catered to literati nationwide for more than half a century and was firebombed in the 1980s because of its support of the First Amendment, has closed its doors, the victim of lagging sales.

Andy Ross, who owned the store from 1977 until mid-2006, said about last week’s closing, “it’s no mystery – what’s happened to Cody’s is what has happened to independent stores for many years. People are going somewhere else (for books.) A lot of people like the allure of the Internet or chain stores. And a lot of people don’t read.”

In the spring of 1989, Cody’s was firebombed, and an unexploded pipe bomb was later found inside the store. This all happened shortly after the store had prominently displayed Salman Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verses” at a time when many in the Muslim world were outraged by Rushdie’s novel, and the author had to go into hiding because of threats on his life.

“The whole staff voted unanimously to sell the book,” Ross said. “The workers were not getting rich off this store, but were willing to risk their lives for an idea. It was the moment I was most proud of.”more at link

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