Sunday, January 24, 2010

No Bookstore

The B. Dalton in the Mall del Norte in Laredo, Texas recently closed. The makes Laredo, with its population of 250,000, one of the largest cities in the United States without a bookstore. Greensboro is slightly larger than Laredo, and we have three big box bookstores in town.

B. Dalton is owned by Barnes and Noble, and even thought the Laredo store was profitable, B&N's corporate strategy is to get out of the mall bookstore line-of-business. This leaves the closest bookstore 150 miles away in San Antonio.

There is much concern in Laredo that this closing is going to hurt local literacy efforts. No one really expects the two public libraries, despite a catalog of over 200,000 volumes, to be able to meet the demand for popular titles.

There's a void here for someone to fill. Either Barnes and Noble or Borders could open one of their big box stores, but they've both been shrinking of late. Books-A-Million would be more likely, since it is largely in the South.

Or perhaps the most interesting notion: would Larry McMurtry be interested in expanding his bookstore business?

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