Laredo (pop. 250,000) will shortly have no bookstores, making it the largest city in the U.S. without one:
The Associated Press reports that letters from schoolchildren had no effect on the corporation's decision to shutter the B. Dalton; Barnes & Noble announced plans earlier this year to close all remaining B. Dalton outlets. "Corporate America considers Laredo kind of the backwater," said Jerry Thompson, an author who lives in Laredo and is a professor at Texas A&M International University.
Barnes & Noble, however, says it does think that Laredo can support a bookstore. It has its eyes on a site for a "large format" Barnes & Noble -- but that won't be ready until 2011.
With no independent bookstores in the city and the last chain outlet slated for closure, residents will have to travel about 150 miles across arid ranchland to San Antonio to buy books.
Unless they have an Internet connection, that is.
Still. I think some inferences about Laredo are warranted from this fact.