Friday, May 28, 2010

Rodney's Bookstore is Closing - Possibly for Good

Much as we're proponents of social media and digital communications in general, we're also fans of the printed word - since most of the Open Media Boston staff is old enough to remember when books, newspapers and magazines were how one got an education and regular information about everything happening on our big blue marble.

So it is with heavy heart that I mark the passing of one of Cambridge's great remaining used bookstores - Rodney's Bookstore in Central Square. They're giving up their lease as soon as they sell all or most of their remaining stock. So they'll be open at least another month. And, if I understood their clerk correctly yesterday, the degree to which they can generate cash by selling their books will determine whether or not they can reopen somewhere else in the area.

Not that I think their prospects are especially great without some sugardaddy or momma to bankroll them as an essentially profitless antiquarian enterprise - one has only to remember other efforts at bookstore relocation (witness McIntyre and Moore's bouncing around Harvard Square to Davis Square to Porter Square) to understand the cruel economics of face-to-face bookselling in an age of online sales and rising commercial rents - locations outside downtown Boston or central Cambridge are not often capable of forestalling the seemingly inevitable end of bookstores (at least independent general-interest bookstores) as many of us have known them.

Nevertheless, we are great supporters of doomed Quixote-like crusades at OMB (d'oh!), and since Rodney's is selling off really great stuff for 50 percent off, I think it's worth everyone's time to head over their and buy some books. I got a great book on the history of photography during my visit yesterday, and fully intend to head back for more.

Rodney's Bookstore is at 698 Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge's Central Square.

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