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Mr Books in Tonbridge made just £3 in one day but is not closing down

A shop has laid bare the devastating impact of trying to compete with the likes of Amazon - after revealing they made just £3 in a single day.

The news was announced as Mr Books in Tonbridge, owned by Phil Holden, moved to dismiss claims they were set to close.

Phil Holden, owner of Mr Books bookshop
Phil Holden, owner of Mr Books bookshop

They were one of many non-essential shops which were allowed to reopen from April 12 in the latest stage of the roadmap out of lockdown after months of enforced closures due to the coronavirus.

“Hello #Tonbridge. I wanted to correct some misinformation going around. We are NOT closing,” a message on their Twitter account on Thursday read.

“We've had a tough time and I have spoken about the need for us to do better (taking £3 yesterday doesn't help).

“But we're determined that we will stay open if we can.”

In November, owner Mr Holden said he wasn’t sure if the business would “make it through much of 2021.”

Mr Books bookshop in Tonbridge made just £3 on Wednesday
Mr Books bookshop in Tonbridge made just £3 on Wednesday

Last year he spoke of the difficulties heading into the Christmas period after Kent was put into Tier 4 restrictions.

It should have been his busiest time of year but Mr Holden said:“The hope was that the run up to Christmas would be better and that would begin to compensate, and then we'd look at how the New Year panned out.

“But if we're going to close down for a month - and who knows if it's longer - that's a different issue.

“I know there are lots of businesses in a similar position and, ultimately, you've got to make a decision about whether you will continue to support the business or not.”

Mr Holden also said he had been looking at joining Bookshop, a new online store hoping to unite local independent book sellers onto one site.

Pitted as a local alternative to Amazon, the organisation's affiliate programme pays a 10% commission on every sale, and gives a matching 10% to independent bookshops.

It also claims to give away more than 75% of its profit margin to stores, publications and authors.

"We're determined that we will stay open if we can..."

In an attempt to support Mr Books, Mr Holden's son also has encouraged people to keep supporting local businesses through these difficult times if they can.

Speaking to KentOnline, Jack Holden, an actor and writer who grew up in Tonbridge, said he hoped people's experiences of the last lockdown will remind them how important it is to stand by those businesses in their local area.

He said: "If we want, in between lockdowns, to be able to go out and visit our high streets, then there needs to be things there to visit where I think we really need to try and support our local independent shops.

"Amazon have got it down - it's super quick, super easy and often at greatly-reduced prices.

"We've seen the levels of wealth that Jeff Bezos and the other tech billionaires are building up and good on them.

"But if you are going to buy people books, have a think about whether it's worth saving that pound or few pennies, or whether you can add that extra money and see it as a donation to keep your local high street alive."

He added: “It doesn't make masses of money.

“This isn't about my dad being able to buy the yacht he always wanted, it's about keeping that lovely part of Tonbridge vibrant and diverse and making it a place people want to spend time."

Mr Books is based on Tonbridge High Street.

Read more: All the latest news for Tonbridge

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