Cody’s Books acquired by Japanese bookseller

Japanese bookseller and publisher Yohan, Inc., has acquired Cody’s Books. Yohan is the largest distributor of English-language books in Japan. Cody’s, which closed its Telegraph Avenue store in July, has locations on Fourth Street in Berkeley and on Stockton in San Francisco.

The press release announcing the sale does not disclose the terms of the deal and is, generally, rather vague about Yohan’s interest in the Berkeley-based Cody’s:

Cody’s will retain both its Fourth Street store in Berkeley and its Union Square store in San Francisco, its extensive author appearance program, its school, library, and corporate book services, and its expert staff. Ross will remain president of Cody’s Books, and Leslie Berkler will become vice-president, focusing on store operations, as well as rapidly growing off-site programs including book fairs, schools, libraries, and corporate sales. Cody’s will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Yohan.

Cody’s, founded by Fred and Pat Cody in 1956, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Andy Ross acquired the business in 1977, and then opened a second Berkeley store in 1997 and a downtown San Francisco store in 2005. The flagship Telegraph Avenue store in Berkeley was closed earlier this year due to declining sales. Ross notes, “With Yohan’s support, Cody’s will continue to be both an essential voice in the community while exploring a number of growth opportunities around the corner and across the globe.”

Hiroshi Kagawa, CEO of Yohan, says, “I’ve loved Cody’s ever since I first visited the store in 1983.” Founded in 1953, Yohan is the largest distributor of English-language books and magazines in Japan. It owns 18 bookstores in Japan, including the art and design-focused Aoyama Book Center, as well as the publisher IBC Publishing. “It is our ultimate mission to promote culture and communications worldwide,” says Kagawa. Yohan also owns Berkeley’s Stone Bridge Press, run by Kagawa’s longtime friend and colleague Peter Goodman. “Hiroshi loves books,” says Goodman. “Yohan and Cody’s share a sensibility that venerates the written word.”

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