Thanet to lose three bookshops in just one month

Moon Lane, Broadstairs Book Shop and The Classroom

Thanet will have lost three bookshops in just one month when Moon Lane Books in Ramsgate shuts its doors trade from Whitstable later this month.

Broadstairs Book Shop in Albion Street closed last month after more than two decades of trade due to the owner’s retirement.

In Westgate The Classroom bookshop shut today [December 3] after the town’s Christmas light switch-on celebrations, taking the opportunity for one last story time session and a final collection for Community Kindness-Thanet’s Christmas appeal.

Adam Taylor, who runs the shop in Station Road, said the lease expires on December 7 and the current economic climate means it is not viable to renew it.

The award-winning bookshop will instead be mothballed in the hope that it can be relaunched at a later date if a venue “in the right place and the right price” can be found.

A final storytelling session

The Classroom business, owned by Adam with parents Susan and Graham, offers Kent Test, GCSE and A Level tuition online and this will continue but the book shop has to close.

The business began as a Kumon franchise in Broadstairs in 2002 and two years later moved to St Mildred’s Road, Westgate. Named Kumon Thanet North it also traded as The Classroom offering free 11+ tuition.

In 2009 Adam, Susan and Graham went completely independent as The Classroom and in 2016 moved to the current location in Station Road.

They started selling books in the waiting room area in 2017 until the pandemic hit and all tuition moved all tuition online.

In 2021 The Classroom reopened with a revamped bookshop which was also used to host events and storytelling sessions.

Dad-of-two Adam, who has a background in teaching, is passionate about making sure children have access to books. In February this year he gave out more than 6,300 free books at 21 Thanet and Canterbury schools to mark World Book Day and this is something he is keen to continue despite the shop closure.

Adam has set a target of handing out 10,000 World Book Day books next year and the fundraising page will launch soon.

Inside Moon Lane

Ramsgate’s Moon Lane Children’s Books and Toys shop opened in November 2019. The magical world of pictures and words was the creation of children’s author Tamara Macfarlane and business partner Paul Chin. They were joined by Thanet mum Nicci Rosengarten who handled everything from selling to branding and social media.

But the store in Addington Street will hold its last day if trade in the town on December 22.

In a message on social media it says: “Moon Lane Books and Toys on Addington Street will be closing on 22nd of December.  However, this is not the end … we have already opened our shop in Whitstable and would love you to come and visit us in our new home.

“After opening our Ramsgate doors in November 2019, we weathered the many storms the following years brought in, from the pandemic to the cost of living crisis, and we will be forever grateful to you all for supporting us.

“Despite the obstacles, we evolved into a destination for families across Thanet and beyond.  It has been a complete joy working with the local community, hosting story times and author/illustrator events, engaging and working with schools to ensure every child can access and enjoy books. We will miss each and every one of you and really hope you will visit us in Whitstable.

“We are passionate about Addington Street and Ramsgate and want to ensure that the shop is used in a way that compliments all the other existing shops and brings excitement and interest to the road. If anyone has any ideas or is interested in talking to us about the space please don’t hesitate to get in touch, we would love to hear from you.

Initially, we will be making it available as a pop-up shop bringing new ideas and energy to the road but we are open to all longer-term interest. [email protected]

Find a bookshop

The isle does still have a selection of bookshops including Michaels in King Street, Ramsgate, Book Bodega in Harbour Street, Ramsgate and The Margate Bookshop in Market Place as well as Waterstones at Westwood Cross and Kinder Collective in Nelson Place, Broadstairs. There is also The Old Bank Bookshop, run by Pilgrims Hospices, at 17 The Parade, Margate, the bookshop at Monkton Nature Reserve and from spring to autumn, Ellington Park Bookshop.

26 Comments

    • Yes, that and The Old Bank Bookshop are THE places to go for secondhand books in Thanet (I really liked that one that used to be in Margate High Street too, but it sadly closed down a few years back).

    • It’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation. I’d love to buy more books, CDs and DVDs in local shops, but most of what I want is only available online.

  1. EgonSpengler is right, there are so many outlets for second hand books which are a fraction of the price of new, or even free in numerous book exchanges across Thanet. Bookshops have to be very creative to get customers in. I read loads and buy from the local independents periodically but most of my purchases are second hand. Buying them all new would just be too expensive

      • Books, you’re right. Newspaper, well this is what the site does, news. As the Gazette sells less than 800 copies a week [more like 15000 when I was there) I’d say this website is exactly what people need for real, local news

        • A local newspaper used to be far more than just news: Births, deaths & marriages; jobs & lonely hearts ads; TV & radio guide; weather forecasts; not to mention professional photographers rather than reliance on constantly re-used stock photos or low quality reader’s pics. No, this could never be a substitute for the real thing, which are sadly becoming a thing of the past.

          • Peter, no-one in this day and age is buying a local paper to get their TV listings or weather forecast. Births and marriages are more likely to be announced via social media. Job ads and, sometimes, death notices are carried on this website.
            Sadly the demise of staff photographers across the industry happened long ago. With the growth of online technology it was no longer a possibility for a photographer to physically be at every job and every breaking news incident needed in a day and the powers that be decided to chop costs. Incidentally, papers always had some stock photos but also have the option to publish something as a short downpager or 100 word nib, meaning no photo stock or otherwise is needed.
            The ’real’ thing is, in many many cases, no longer commercially viable because of advances in online technology, much the same reason you sell your compilations via platforms such as Amazon rather than at real bookshops with ‘real’ authors. Even the way you compile and promote your ‘books’ has probably changed, such as the press releases that you email to this platform to get coverage for your latest releases or the software you use for your self-published products.

          • My comments are more of an observation than a criticism. Perhaps my biggest fear with everything being online instead of in print is that things will in many cases be lost forever: when researching my tomes, I search through old press cuttings (newspapers, magazines, fanzines, etc) from the 60s, 70s & 80s. This already isn’t possible with old long-gone websites that once existed on Geocities, Angelfire, etc. Ditto deleted blogs and social media pages.

      • Not sure Peter. I went in there last Friday, wanted two diaries. Was told “we don’t have any, try Westwood Cross, this is a discount store now”. WHS have sabotaged this shop, it’s dirty and badly managed now. Would be very interested to see what you think.

        • Interesting! Sounds like there’ll be another empty building to potentially turn into a “creative space” in the not-too-distant future.

  2. Very sad, but don’t forget the Ellington Park Bookshop – open between April-October, Wednesday and Saturday afternoons. Chock-a-block full of very reasonably priced second-hand books donated by the public, all proceeds going into the park. 🙂

  3. I visited the Broadstairs bookshop during folk week and it would be kind to say it had seen better days.I did buy some books from the owner,and we had a chat about various things, but really I think his retirement was overdue.I hope he enjoys a long retirement.I agree with the sentiments stated here about the second hand book trade.Abe is OK, but it is owned by Amazon so perhaps the best thing to do would to be frugal in buying from it and instead visit a book shop.There is still nothing better than browsing in a well stocked book shop.Michaels in Ramsgate is pretty good and I think the place is held upright with books. Michael and Anna need your support.

  4. Thanks to the Internet, I no longer buy any newspapers, local or national.
    I have discovered how biased the national press is, particularly regarding the Gaza genocide. Israel can not be criticised, apparently. They are now using the anti-Semitism card..
    Books receive the same treatment from publishers. That is why second-hand books are so valuable, especially on UK sites like Abebooks.

  5. It’s not just book shops that are closing its all kinds of businesses including national chains, the Tories run everything and everybody into the ground and blame everything else for it. As the COVID inquiry has highlighted the government would have been happy to wipe out the over 55s upwards so they could save paying out pensions. If this evil government is not kicked out of power soon the only thing growing in our high streets and retail parks will be grass because that’s all will be left.

  6. Yes i agree Bill, thats Sunaks promise to going green also by wiping out the older generation it would bring the NHS waiting list down.

  7. Well said, Bill. The Tories are tearing the country apart and they care for nothing and nobody but themselves.
    But, sadly, people will continue to vote for these charlatans. Turkeys voting for Christmas

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