Laredo could be largest US city without bookstore

By PAUL J. WEBER, Associated Press Writer Paul J. Weber, Associated Press Writer – Wed Dec 16, 4:37 pm ET

LAREDO, Texas – The final chapter has been written for the lone bookstore on the streets of Laredo.

With a population of nearly a quarter-million people, this city could soon be the largest in the nation without a single bookseller.

The situation is so grim that schoolchildren have pleaded for a reprieve from next month’s planned shutdown of the B. Dalton bookstore. After that, the nearest store will be 150 miles away in San Antonio.

The B. Dalton store was never a community destination with comfy couches and an espresso bar, but its closing will create a literary void in a city with a high illiteracy rate. Industry analysts and book associations could not name a larger American city without a single bookseller.

“Corporate America considers Laredo kind of the backwater,” said the city’s most prolific author, Jerry Thompson, a professor at Texas A&M University International who has written more than 20 books.

Since the closing was announced, book lovers in Laredo have flocked to the small store located between City Trendz (“Laredo’s No. 1 Underground Hip Hop Shop”) and a store that offers $4 indoor go-kart rides to stock up on their favorite titles.

Schoolchildren even wrote letters to the parent company, Barnes & Noble, begging for the store to stay open.

“Without that store, my life would be so sad and boring,” wrote a fifth-grader named Bryanna Salinas, who signed her name with a heart.

via Laredo could be largest US city without bookstore – Yahoo! News.

This is sad. I hope the new store opens earlier than planned!

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