Saturday, December 19, 2009

Laredo Sans Bookstore

One place the book posse won’t be visiting is Laredo, Texas because they are losing their last traditional bookseller. Laredo with a population of 230,000 will be the largest U.S. city without a bookstore. The residents of Laredo will need to drive two hours to their closest bookstore in San Antonio.

Barnes & Noble has decided to close its B. Dalton bookstores across the nation. Like the independent bookstores, the mall stores that provided so much reading pleasure in my youth are folding under the pressure of online buying and super bookstores. While I am sad to see them go, I could not tell you the last time I purchased an item from a B. Dalton or Waldenbooks. I purchase most of my books online from Amazon and independent booksellers with an online presence.

During the non-holiday shopping season, I enjoy visiting the brick and mortar bookstores to hear author talks and attend book discussion groups. Of course I also need a coffee and a cookie while attending these events. Unfortunately, in general, the mall bookstores do not have space for a coffee shop, book discussion groups, or author book signings.

For the people of Laredo, I am hoping that Barnes & Noble decides to build a smaller superstore that provides the citizens an opportunity to purchase books and be exposed to the other benefits such as coffee and cookies, and maybe an author talk now and then. Offer your support for the people of Laredo by joining the Facebook page “Save Laredo’s Bookstore.”

Some of the material for this blog came from the wall street journal article, Stephanie Simon, “City Tries to Rewrite Lone Bookstore’s Last Chapter.”

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