Deathwatch

The City Without a Bookstore

Beginning on Jan. 16, Laredo, Texas--home to nearly a quarter-million people as well as high rates of illiteracy—will become the largest U.S. city without a bookstore. After the local B. Dalton closes, the nearest bookseller will be 150 miles away in San Antonio. The grim situation on the streets of Laredo has led schoolchildren to beg parent company Barnes & Noble, which is closing 49 B. Daltons nationwide, for a temporary reprieve. As one fifth grader wrote, "Without that store, my life would be so sad and boring." Barnes & Noble believes that a bookstore is viable in the city, and has identified a future location for a large format store, but the space won't be available for 18 months. In the meantime, bibliophiles are stocking up on books before the last bookstore's planned closing.