R.I.P. California Map & Travel, Cody’s Books

Travel Blog  •  Jim Benning  •  06.29.06 | 1:13 PM ET

Today, we pay our respects to two great California bookstores we’re losing or already have lost. California Map & Travel Center, the fine Santa Monica travel bookstore whose L.A. roots stretched back to 1949—an eternity in L.A.—recently closed shop. The small Pico Boulevard store was crammed with guidebooks, narratives and globes, and it sometimes hosted readings. I once saw travel editor and writer Thomas Swick read there on a book tour, to an enthusiastic audience. The store was profiled here in better days. The other big loss, of course, is Cody’s Books, an institution on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley. The store, which stocked all kinds of books, will close July 11. Two other Bay area Cody’s locations will continue to operate, but it is the Telegraph Avenue store, a stone’s throw from the UC Berkeley campus, that is so beloved among book-lovers.

During a semester at Berkeley as an undergrad, I spent countless hours inside Cody’s, perusing its tables and shelves. I was living away from home for the first time, alternately homesick and high on my newfound independence, teetering between late adolescence and adulthood. However I might have been feeling beforehand, I always felt invigorated and hopeful inside Cody’s. It was that kind of store.

Owner Andy Ross blamed several factors for the store’s closing. From the MSNBC story:

“Part of it is definitely a result of the overall decline of Telegraph,” he said, adding he had spent about $1 million in vain attempts to spark more business. “But you also have the rapid growth of chain bookstores during the 1990s and the more recent move to the Internet. Buying online seems especially popular with (UC-Berkeley) students and faculty. They used to be the focus of our business, but a lot fewer of them shop here today.”

2 Comments for R.I.P. California Map & Travel, Cody’s Books

TambourineMan 07.01.06 | 3:42 PM ET

Sad to hear Cal Map & Travel is closed. They used to stock some pretty nice raised-relief maps. I was in the area last month and planned to drop by, but ended up getting drunk at Chez Jay in SM instead. Oh well.
RIP old friend…RIP.

Jhon Trev 08.23.07 | 4:13 AM ET

Check out http://www.mapjack.com, they have a unique way to look arround in San Fransisco, they have created a character (Jack) and you see exactly what Jack sees. You can roam on the streets using street level view.  They just launched Panoramic View of stret-level images, through which you can watch arround jack at 360 degree angle.

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