Serendipity Books, R.I.P.

NYT – “California, with a colossal hole in its budget and 12 percent unemployment, is confronting this quandary as it tries to compel Amazon.com to collect sales tax. Amazon is so confident that bargain-hunting consumers will rally to its side that it is essentially ignoring the law. Maybe they will. But as the battle between the state and the retailer was heating up late last week, news came that Serendipity Books in Berkeley was closing. Antiquarian stores like Serendipity were once plentiful. They specialized in winnowing the detritus of the past, plucking the important material for collectors, scholars and institutions. Serendipity was for decades one of the best such shops, and eventually one of the last. In the years to come, people will have a hard time appreciating there were such places, where anyone who wanted to could look and learn and buy, or maybe just while away a rainy afternoon. So let’s spend a moment giving Serendipity its due.”

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