Nearly a year after Cody's on Telegraph shut down, the Barnes & Noble on Shattuck permanently shut its doors on Thursday night. Dr. M and I made one last visit to pick over the clearance sale leavings, and came away with a handful of excessively marked-down books that probably still would have been cheaper on Amazon.com.
Apparently selling books in Berkeley is not a very profitable enterprise. Which is somewhat surprising, it being a college town and all. The fact that Barnes & Noble couldn't hang suggests that the demise of Cody's wasn't a matter of being driven out of business by a nefarious corporate megastore. As the Daily Clog post mentions, the company is giving a host of questionable, shareholder-friendly reasons for closing the store. But I agree with the Clog that the real culprit is the Intertron.
With Cody's and Barnes & Noble out of the way, Pegasus and Moe's remain as the two main booksellers in the campus area (and I forgetting anyone?). Both stores engage actively in the used book market, which is probably a big factor in their respective successes. I think the willingness to pay full price for books is diminishing -- particularly among cash-strapped college students -- in light of the fact that discounts are so easy to come by.
Either that, or Berkeley students just hate reading.