I recently wrote a piece examining the demise of independent bookstore and Berkeley, California institution Cody’s Books. It is not an underestimate to say that indies have had a tough time of it and the end of Cody’s was a way to put a face on what is happening in this space – while looking at some of the individual business decisions its owners made over the years as the industry was radically changing that sealed its fate.
Like a bookend, the Los Angeles Times has taken a look at Williams Book Store in San Pedro, California that just celebrated its 100th anniversary. The current owners, Anne Gusha, 89 and her son Jerry bought the store in 1980 for $25,000. They’ve been able to survive in recent years by focusing on books about San Pedro history, inviting area authors to appear for signings, and catering to the local customer base by stocking Croatian and Italian newspapers, comic books, and study aids like CliffNotes.
Says owner Anne Gusha:
“Some days we have good days, and some days we wonder if we’re going to make it,”