Acclaimed novelist Oscar Casares understands first-hand the changing publishing landscape. He grew up in south Texas along the Mexican border, where bookstores have always been hard to find. When his two books, “Brownsville” and “Amigoland,” were published, he pushed to sell the books in a popular grocery store chain called H.E.B.
Right now the H.E.B. grocery store is what passes for a bookstore in Laredo. Casares spoke with CNN inside the grocery. As he talked, a woman bought a copy of his latest book and set it on top of a bag of flour tortillas and a sack of potatoes.
“We had to adapt. We had to realize this was the border,” Casares said. “The first thing I realized was there weren’t going to be any places to sell the book. I felt we needed another point of distribution.”
Casares admits it took a little while to get used to book signings and readings in the midst of a chaotic grocery store.
He worries about what losing the only bookstore will do to Laredo’s spirit. “I think it creates a void. It’s a void that isn’t instantly recognizable but it’s one, that over time, is deflating,” Casares said.