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Oxfam bookshop manager, David Taylor, defended the charity’s decision to make as much as possible from donated books, and blamed Internet sellers for the bookshops’ problems.

But Mr Harrison, whose bearded collie, Mitchell, was a familiar sight snoozing in his shop window, said Oxfam uses its huge resources to rent premises in a prime location and pay a manager.

“It opens up specialist shops and they are killing the trade. It targets towns which already have secondhand bookshops, because it knows there’s a ready market.”

Mr Harrison,
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a member of the Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association, claimed there was no official help for small traders.

“I wanted to play Radio 4 in the shop but was told it would cost me 300 a year in performing rights payments,” he said. “The parking restrictions are terrible, and even the Christmas lights don’t extend beyond Brown Street.

“We’ve got a lovely landlord, who hasn’t put the rent up in years, and has let us go with six months still on our lease, and we are very grateful for it.

But he said: “I am going to miss talking to my customers. Mitchell will miss it too. He loves being here in the shop, and people bringing in treats for him.”

Mr Taylor said he had “a great deal of sympathy” for Mr Harrison. “Our lower costs do give us an advantage. But Oxfam got fed up with people buying books in its shops for 50p and selling them on for a profit. It decided to be more professional.

“And large chains do put small stores out of business. It has also happened to the new book trade. To single out Oxfam is unfair. It’s not really a local issue, but a national one.”

Mr Taylor claimed web sales were the real problem: “Internet sellers have no overheads,
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they can operate from a bedsit. They have brought prices down to less than 20 years ago.”