Fred Bass, co-owner of Strand bookstore

NEW YORK — Fred Bass, who for decades ran the sprawling and beloved Strand bookstore that had the tag line “18 Miles of Books,” died Wednesday at age 89.

Bass died at his home in Manhattan. Leigh Altshuler, the Strand’s director of communications, said the cause of death was heart failure.

Thousands of independent bookstores perished during the past 30 years in the face of competition from chains and online commerce, but the Strand remains a meeting ground for literary obsessives seeking old-fashioned sensory overload, poring through its eclectic and unpredictable stacks of used and new books inside the store and on tables outside in Manhattan’s Union Square neighborhood.

Bass, a New York City native and Brooklyn College graduate who took over the business from his father, Benjamin, had worked in the Strand as a boy and continued coming in regularly until a few months ago. He owned and managed the Strand along with his daughter, Nancy Bass Wyden.