Cody’s to close Stockton Street bookstore 

Cody’s Books will close its Stockton Street store April 20, just 18 months after opening, officials of the local bookstore chain announced Thursday.

The large bookstore outlet, located at 2 Stockton St., was never able to attract enough customers to break even, according to Melissa Mytinger, marketing director for Cody’s.

The news comes less than a year after Cody’s closed its flagship store on Telegraph Avenuein Berkeley in July 2006.

"We believed in our San Francisco store, we loved its space and stock and its employees and customers, but it simply has not attracted enough attention," Cody’s president, Andy Ross, said .

Cody’s has one remaining store on Fourth Street in Berkeley.

"Fourth Street is posting gains this year," Mytinger said. "That’s interesting, because book sales across the country have been dropping consistently every month, and it’s been the same for independents as well as for chains."

The closure does not affect the company’s relationship with Japan-based Yohan Inc., which purchased Cody’s in September of 2006, according to Mytinger.

News of Cody’s closure in San Francisco is disappointing, according to Nick Setka, a board member of the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association.

However, larger independent bookstores such as Cody’s have not fared well in recent years. Independent booksellers are facing fierce competition from chains such as Barnes & Noble and Borders and online sellers such as Amazon.com.

Such competition nearly forced Kepler’s in Menlo Park to close its doors permanently in August 2005; customer support and a hefty fundraising campaign allowed the store to reopen that fall and remain open to date.

When A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books closed on San Francisco’s Van Ness Avenue in the fall of 2006, chain store Books Inc. took over the space and has made it work, according to Setka.

bwinegarner@examiner.com

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