This spring Marshall Smith, the creator of such successful ventures as Paperback Booksmith, Videosmith and Learningsmith, saw the demise of his latest brainchild, Cybersmith, the literary café intended to bring together the latest in technology with books and food. Smith, who had not been active in the four-year-old business of late, continued to hold some Cybersmith stock. He attributed the company's rapid decline largely to the death of the first CEO, who died suddenly after only six months in office. "It was a good idea and everybody involved in it basically thought it was a good idea. But although we hired a new CEO, we couldn't quite put the original organization together," Smith said.

At its peak, Cybersmith had four stores: its flagship in Cambridge, Mass., which is in the midst of liquidation; one in downtown Boston; one in White Plains, N.Y.; and one in Palo Alto, Calif. All four are closed, and Cybersmith has been in Chapter 11 since March.

With the ongoing liquidation of Cybersmith in Harvard Square and of all Lauriat's stores (News, June 14), as well as the closing of Waterstone's flagship Boston store last week, Boston-area retailing has been enduring a difficult period. Waterstone's Faneuil Hall Marketplace store is slated to close later this week or next, and the Rizzoli Bookstore in Copley Square will close by July 17.

Lauriat's liquidation sale began last week, with Gordon Bros. Liquidators chosen to conduct the going-out-of-business sales. They are looking to move $29 million in inventory and the process is expected to take no longer than 75 days.