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Published: 06:00, 19 March 2020
A independent bookshop has announced it is closing down after 25 years of trading.
Harbour Books, situated in Whitstable's Harbour Street, is to shut after an "especially difficult" few months.
In a message to customers its owners said: "It is with great sadness that we announce the upcoming closure of Harbour Books after 25 years of trading.
"We would like to thank all our customers, friends, authors, former staff, and everyone who has supported us all these years.
"The past few months have been especially difficult but the kindness of good Whitstable folk has sustained us and made it all so much easier.
"Please come and see us (and buy books!) before we go but come with smiles, not sadness.
"We thank you all from the bottom of our hearts and send you lots of love."
Harbour Books has long played a key part in Whitstable's thriving literary scene, hosting regular book signings, author talks, a book club and monthly poetry and prose evening Words on Waves.
Spread across two floors, the small store offers fiction and non-fiction books as well as cards, games and stationery, and promotes local authors by stocking a range of their work.
News of its closure has sparked an outpouring of heartfelt messages on social media from customers and writers, describing it as "the end of an era".
Author Faye Beerling wrote: "I am so sorry to read this. You have supported me as an independent author in recent years through sales of my books and for that I am truly thankful. It was always a pleasure to visit you."
Stella Fry added: "So very, very sorry to hear this. A wonderful bookshop and very much a pearl in the town. Sad times indeed."
Harbour Books was approached for a comment, but did not wish to expand on what has been posted on its social media channels.
More by this authorLydia Chantler-Hicks