Best New Bookstore - 2006
Few people would consider renting downtown real estate for an operation as precarious as selling books, and even fewer would do it two short walking blocks (assuming a diagonal traverse through Union Square) from a towering Borders. But Cody's isn't new at this; Fred Cody opened his first shop on Berkeley's Telegraph Avenue in 1965, turning it into one of the West Coast's best bookstores. In 1998, a second Cody's opened on that city's Fourth Street, and last year the business finally came to San Francisco, into an area the chains already commanded, a wonderfully ballsy move. The store proper is below the street, well stocked and absurdly spacious few bookstores carry sightlines like these with local authors figured prominently in the prime space near the door. The reading series is up to speed (Jimmy Carter, Nick Laird, Tobias Wolff, and Kaye Gibbons have all stood at the podium), and the Downtown Poetry series offers a weekly respite from the downtown madness. Sadly, the Telegraph store will close on July 10, perhaps all the more reason to treasure the S.F. branch.