Whoa… Kepler’s (our local bookstore) closed yesterday, bankrupt after a four-year battle. They had just celebrated their fiftieth anniversary. It was the southern end of the literary triangle with Cody’s in Berkeley, and City Lights in San Francisco. So, would you ask, where does someone get his books around here? Online? At Border’s? How about the author events that Kepler’s used to hold? All gone.
It’s amazing how these “signs of the times” keep happening. Recently we got upset at the perspective of a Starbucks establishing yet another of its standardizing stores on California Avenue, one of the streets until then forgotten by the corporations. Printer’s Inc. Café across the street, is the only remnant of the Printer’s Inc. bookstore that went bankrupt (how should I say, coinciding with Border’s and Amazon’s flourishing?). On University Avenue, now very much invaded by chain stores, there used to be a record store that soon disappeared after Border’s came up with its vast selection. The really nice Torrefazzione Italia café is now closing, with the revelation that Starbucks had bought the small chain a few years ago. It’s all about corporations now, with a few people deciding what you will read, watch, listen to, eat, and drink.