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Tonbridge book shop saved from closure

By This is Kent  |  Posted: April 03, 2009

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A BOOKSHOP in Tonbridge which was just days from closure has been saved by last-minute negotiations.

John Adams, in Angel Walk, recently held a closing down sale as its 25-year lease was coming to an end.

But the shop is to remain open after owner Douglas Jeffers secured a six-month licence for the premises.

Mr Jeffers said it was a relief the shop had not shut down but would stay open on a licence basis.

"We are still there for all book needs," said Mr Jeffers, who owns another bookshop – My Back Pages – in London and has owned the Tonbridge store for 12 years."

He added: "We are all very pleased and eager to serve Tonbridge as a book seller."

The 60-year-old said the shop would have to be restocked following the closing down sale but would soon be back to its full glory, opening seven days a week and supplying new as well as second-hand books.

"The shop's pretty famous for being very good at customer orders," said Mr Jeffers, adding the customers had been disappointed when they heard the news the shop was heading for closure.

But he said it would not all be plain sailing, as business in the book trade was "pretty difficult".

"It's so difficult to run an independent bookshop with the price war going on between chains and Amazon," he said. "Second-hand bookshops have been closing down all over the world."

As well as the internet threatening retailers on the high street, Mr Jeffers said the recession had also impacted on book sellers, with several well- established shops in the area having been forced to fold.

He added the shop's major wholesaler had been part of the Woolworths group so had got "stuck in limbo" when the company went into administration last year, leading to ordering problems at John Adams.

But he said the supplier had since been bought by a breakaway part of WHSmith.

For now Mr Jeffers said his aim was to let customers know it was still business as usual.

"A lot of people think we're closed," he explained. "We need to get our customers back."

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    Les Townsend, Sissinghurst  |  March 05 2010, 7:31PM

    I understand that the main threat to the viablity of this bookshop was the approaching predator, OXFAM. There is a place for charity, but firstly it begins at home, not across the other side of the world. Secondly, if OXFAM wish to compete in the Bookshop market, then it should be on a level playing field - i.e with them paying full rates, like any other trader.

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    Susan Killick, Tonbridge  |  April 03 2009, 12:32PM

    Good to hear that the bookshop will remain it has always given us good service when we drew a blank with a book elsewhere. Brilliant customer service. Thanks