Rodney’s Bookstore closing with massive sale

The website for Rodney’s Bookstore in Central Square advertises its closing sale Tuesday. The sale is set to start Wednesday and go until the store is empty.

This time it’s for real: Rodney’s Bookstore in Central Square is closing.

Rodney’s, two stories holding more than 100,000 titles, posters and shelving, is officially starting a close-out sale of 50 percent off the price of books and 30 off for other materials Wednesday, with the sale slated to end when the store is emptied.

“So it could take a little time,” manager Jay Phillips said Tuesday, speaking for owner Shaw Taylor.

A worker said he believed  the store would be open at least through the summer.

The closing was referred to April 5 by city councillor Ken Reeves, but at the time workers said the bookstore wasn’t scheduled to shut its doors. In the month since, Taylor has been forced to set a date.

“He’s been thinking about it for a while,” Phillips said. “In this economy, this model, it doesn’t work.”

Things weren’t always this way, of course; Cambridge has been famous as a center for printed books of all sorts, and the Harvard Square area is still cited by masstraveljournal.com as being “rated among the highest in the U.S. for density of bookstores per square mile.” Porter Square had the Bookcellar Café, Davis Square had McIntyre and Moore Booksellers — the latter has replaced the former, although it operates under a sign saying its space is for lease, but Porter Square Books has moved in and flourished as well — and Central Square, starting 10 years ago, had Rodney’s. Named after Taylor’s dog, well known in his hometown of Hyannis, Rodney’s was the third in a chain of used stores after locations on Cape Cod and in Brookline. Five years ago, those two stores were closed and Rodney’s grew to a second floor to absorb their stock and clientele, Phillips said. See a PDF of a 2005 photo feature on Rodney’s here.

Part of this sale is to serve as a “big thank you to Central Square,” he said, where the store has “become somewhat a part of the community.”

A customer once joked that if a sale such as this took place, he’d have to come in with a wheelbarrow, Phillips recalled.

That time is now.

Reeves said the 698 Massachusetts Ave. site would likely become a nightclub, but the Rodney’s worker on Tuesday said another used bookseller might be lined up to take the space.

Update: Reeves said Monday that he’d said a nightclub was coming to Central Square, not that it would be coming to the space occupied by Rodney’s.

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