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Cody's is Closed

Well, you can’t say we didn’t see it coming but it did it have to unravel so quickly? Despite the recent opening of their Shattuck Ave. store, Cody’s, a force in Bay Area book sales for 52 years, has suddenly shut its doors. I got an email from Melissa Mytinger (their author event booker) on Friday alerting me that all author events were cancelled. I had a reading scheduled there for Monday June 30th. It was going to be a big one too. There was a lot of buzz around my East Bay author event. Now I have a lot of emails to send out. I’ll try to reschedule at Diesel or somewhere and keep everyone posted when Thunderbirds are Go on an East Bay reading once again.

I met Matthew Polly, author of “American Shaolin” at the ill-fated San Francisco Cody’s (I guess all Cody’s are ill-fated when you think about it). Polly had an actual Shaolin Monk from China at his reading. It was inspiring. His book is similar to mine in that they are both about some facet of the fight game but have a rich back story to them. Mine is about pro wrestling and it’s also about the dot com boom and bust and how it affected the SF music scene in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Polly’s book is about a kid who quits an Ivy League University to learn kung-fu at the original Shaolin Temple but it’s also about the transformations going on in Chinese society in the early 1990s. Due to the similar flow to “American Shaolin” and “Beer, Blood and Cornmeal,” I asked Polly to write a blurb for my book. He took the time to read through my manuscript and obliged me. “Just pay it forward,” he told me after emailing me the much-needed piece of cover copy, “when some author comes to you to write a blurb for them, make sure that you do.”

Now the Barnes and Nobles have been really good to me and my book. I’m happy to see BBAC on their shelves but there’s no scene in those places. Nothing’s happening there. It takes a place like Cody’s for authors to get together and make things happen. Green Apple, Kepler’s and Rasputin have all done extra things to support my book like selling BBAC at non-bookstore events. Green Apple sold books for me Annie’s Social Club and the Edinburgh Castle. Kepler’s handled the sales for me at my Redwood City Public Library reading last Thursday and Rasputin Music is hawking my book at the Blank Club in San Jose this Tuesday. You could never get a Barnes and Noble to do that.

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say it aint so joe

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Cody's is Closed

Here it is, straight from the horse's mouth. I usually like being right as much as the next guy, but I'd rather be wrong on this one, believe you me. We really can't go around losing any more independent bookstores.

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What a shame!  I just

What a shame!  I just posted about this, then saw yours.

 My husband woke me this morning with the news.  I almost went to an author reading yesterday, so I immediately thought about her and all the other authors affected.  So sorry to hear you are one of them!

 A week or so earlier I'd dropped off a letter and publisher's catalog for Melissa the events planner.  I'd hoped to schedule a bookstore event in early 2009, after my book  Accordion Dreams comes out.  I sent a follow-up e-mail and never heard back.  Now I know why.

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A shame

The loss of Cody's creates a hole in Bay Area literary life that can never be filled. It's sad to think that a place with as many readers as the East Bay just couldn't support the place amidst today's economic conditions. It's sad.

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Favorite bookstores

Although many indies have fallen to competition from Barnes & Noble and Amazon, folks still have a lot of love for these small stores. Read Street, the Baltimore Sun's book blog, recently asked readers for their favorite bookstores in vacation spots, and the 100-plus recommendations were all indies. We've created a U.S. map of the stores, to help in trip planning. (It's still growing, so if you have recommendations, let me know.)

Dave Rosenthal, Asst. Managing Editor