Honiton: Bookseller bites back against charity shops

BOOKSELLER Graham York is biting back against charity shops – by competing with them.

BOOKSELLER Graham York is biting back against charity shops - by competing with them.

"Instead of complaining, I'm under-cutting them," he says.

He is selling paperbacks for just �1 - turning the tables on a trend set by specialist charity bookshops.

Graham, 50, has run a bookshop in Honiton for 27 years, selling rare, antiquarian and second-hand titles.

He sells his books all over the world through mail order, book fairs and the internet but, on his doorstep, he is competing against nine charity shops - in a town with a population of around 13,000.

Graham York Rare Books is one of two remaining independent bookshops in Honiton.

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All the others closed as the number of charity shops in the town increased.

"I'm biting back by selling paperbacks for �1," said Graham.

"I have to buy my books, whereas charity shops get theirs for free, so it is a loss leader.

"It's getting people through the shop door."

The first person to respond to Graham's "The bookseller bites back" campaign asked him: "Are you sticking two fingers up at charity shops?"

He says he is merely competing.

"I run a business and it has to be adaptable," he said.

"It's no good throwing in the towel when somebody undercuts you.

"There is room for everyone - it's a free market.

"Anybody can ask whatever they want for anything."

In Graham's shop, 17th and 18th century books on travel and literature sit comfortably alongside modern classics such as Harry Potter.

He is well-known in the trade and is a member of the Provincial Booksellers' Fairs Association, the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association and the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers.

He opened his shop in High Street, Honiton, in 1982 and says he intends to remain in business.

He told the Herald: "People tend to think this shop is a bit rarefied and, by biting back, I can show them that I can sell paperbacks as cheaply as charity shops.