CODY'S BOOKS by Pat Cody


The Life and Times of a Berkeley Bookstore, 1956-1977
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 The story of a legendary paperback bookstore in Berkeley and its two owners, and of how it grew, and grew, and grew. Pat and Fred Cody move to Berkeley in the mid-50's, determined to open a bookstore that will reflect their tastes and thorough knowledge of trade paperbacks. They start with a very small, undercapitalized store and discover that their biggest sales item is calendars--and, later, a huge line of fancy calendars from Germany, as well as greeting cards and posters. Fred works almost around the clock for four years before they move to a larger store on Telegraph Avenue. Pat has four children. When the building for that store is condemned, they luck into a bigger space across the street and build a new two-story store. Over the 21 years they are booksellers, they become involved with the hippie revolution and Berkeley politics, so much so that a police tear-gas bomb coming in through their window keeps out customers for two days. ``Shrinkage''--i.e., theft, by their workers as well as customers- -nearly bankrupts the Codys until they discover that two roving clerks can act as a wonderful preventative. Best chapter: the one about traveling book-reps, out there on a shoeshine and a smile, which digs movingly into the life (and death) of a rep. Book-trade nostalgia, vanished bestsellers, and an affecting pair of dedicated book-people make for a gentle stroll through two decades. (Sixteen b&w photographs.)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-8118-0220-5
Page count: 206pp
Publisher: Chronicle
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1992


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