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Since I was a little girl, I've always enjoyed hanging out at Barnes & Noble. Then, it was a magical place of peace, in which I could be myself and explore an ocean of information. I especially loved books about faraway places- both in a geographic and temporal sense, like ancient Egypt or Rome.

As an adult, I am literally exactly the same person and I haven't changed one bit. The only difference is that I'm allowed a latte, even a venti latte now.

Retailers like Barnes & Noble, which takes up an enormous amount of deliciously browsable space, have taken a beating over the last few years. Between Amazon (who I refuse to buy books from, as they always come to my house looking like they were kicked by a donkey) and the pandemic, it's been difficult for brick-and-motor retailers.

Yes, I love the books themselves, but the ritual of discovering and deciding on one is sacred to me. 

Barnes & Nobel peaked, locations-wise, in 2008 with 726 stores. But if you remember, that was the beginning of the financial crisis. Now, B&N is at about 600 stores, including the lovely location in Lubbock, TX.

B&N announced that they are opening 30 new stores in 2023. Does this mean Lubbock will get a second location? Unlikely. I imagine many of those locations will open near stores that recently closed. Which is ok, those folks deserve to have their stores back.

But what does it mean for Lubbock? 

I think it means we will get to keep our B&N. Here in Lubbock, you can't help but worry about businesses closing- it happens all the time. We are a strange place for retail, with a huge chunk of our population leaving every summer and winter break. We are also an island surrounded by hundreds of miles of mesquite and wildflowers. We are not Dallas or Houston or Austin with their countless, sizable suburbs.

So, in essence, it means I can take a sigh of relief. There's always something new for me to learn about Rome.

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