Julia Quinn Delivers Some Good News Amidst the Bad

s-THE-LAST-BOOKSTORE-largeIf you live in Laredo, Texas, shopping for books just got a lot harder.

On January 16th, with the closing of its’ sole bookstore – a B.Dalton – the city of a quarter million people became the largest in the United States without a single bookstore.  Now anyone wanting to shop in a bricks and mortar store faces a drive of 150 miles to San Antonio.

Though the company says the store was profitable, they also told the Wall Street Journal that it doesn’t make sense to keep it open since they’ve moved on to  “large-format bookstores,” selling a broader range of merchandise, including music, videos, toys, and coffee.  I like coffee and comfy couches as much as anyone, but it leaves the book-starved citizens of Laredo out of luck.

The best that pleas from schoolchildren and a resolution from the city council that Laredo needs a bookstore has gotten?  Some interest from the major chains and the possibility that a bookstore might come to the city sometime in 2011.  But, for now, Laredo is the largest city in the U.S. without a single bookstore.

Author Julia Quinn was appalled. Here’s what she had to say about the situation:

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Chapter: A Romance Bookstore in Auckland

insideNew Zealand is a land of many attributes, but Romance Central it is not.  The tendency is to tuck away romance novels at the end of shelves like tails between legs.  So imagine my surprise when I came across Chapter, an Auckland bookstore devoted entirely to romance novels, and I was glad to get the opportunity to interview Frances Loo, owner and founder of Chapter.

Like many of us, Frances was weaned on Georgette Heyer and Mary Stewart, and branched off into Mills & Boons and Barbara Cartland before becoming a full-blown romance lover.  During a sojourn in America she gloried in the large selection of single title romances, having been limited predominantly to series romances in New Zealand.  So when Frances returned to New Zealand, she opened Chapter, a book café dedicated to single-title romances.

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