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 Book Shops > Bloomindales

Bloomingdales - The Bookseller From Hell?

Bloomingdales Bookshop became notorious when owner Steve Bloom introduced a selective policy of charging a 50p admission. The story went viral in January 2017 and Steve sold the business in July. Opinions of our reviewers were strongly divided and they are archived below.

In the much recommended bookshop in Hawes I met the man I never thought I would - someone who made me ashamed for liking books - someone who made me more than that, ashamed for a moment for even having an interest in books ... What an unbelievable moment - the man who owned a secondhand bookshop who would happily charge for browsing. Lord knows the library should be ashamed for their tolerance of anyone who would consider browsing before renting ... am I seriously the only one who thinks this is unacceptable??? - Katherine 02.08.10.
    This shop is a proper little old fashioned secondhand book shop selling a good selection of books, maps, postcards, etc. No charge to come in and browse, the owner has given up on that little experiment. A warm welcome from all the staff, always. I should know as I am one of them. Come and see for yourself. PS - The owner can be quite charming too! - Pauline 24.01.2012.
    Owner may have given up charging for browsing but charming he is not. I was threatened with being thrown out for spending too much time browsing when I'd barely been in the place five minutes. Won't be back. - Robin 16.04.13.
    He does still charge! Apologies to all visitors to Hawes. All the other shopkeepers are very welcoming. Just give him a miss. - Steven 26.09.13.
    I was there on Sunday - have visited many times over recent years including several times this year & have bought several books. Flabbergasted when I was asked for 50p to come in. When I queried this, I was dismissed sarcastically - politely told him that I would not be returning. - Steve 08.10.13.
    I went in there last summer, and upon asking if I could browse through some books I was told in a rude manner that If I wasn't considering buying I couldn't look through them! - Rob 08.02.14.
    I was in Hawes during the Easter holidays. The shop was open & having had a bad experience there before, I asked if he was charging for entrance still. After a moment, he replied to ask if I was going to buy anything? I said that I didn't know until I got inside & had a look. He then made a sarcastic comment to say that there were lots of books there & then said that I could go in without a charge. As I went in, he added 'however I am not sure what good it will do me!' At this point, I had had enough & said that I had bought lots of books there over the years but that he had lost me forever as a customer. I find this all very strange... - Steve 10.05.14.
    I went in here on Wednesday. No one in but while I was choosing some books the owner came in and told me I had to pay 50p. entry. I put the books down and walked out. Disgusting and unheard of. No wonder he doesn't sell anything. - Book lover 22.09.14.
    Oh dear, I do apologise to all visitors to the shop. I have been serving in the shop all spring b/h week end and having a lovely time with customers for free. I do not agree with the owner charging for entry he seems to think that it eliminates time wasters. But is browsing time wasting? Most people have no idea what they want until they browse and come across something they would like to buy. The fact that it could take minutes or an hour is irrelevant in the end they have enjoyed it even if they don't buy they may do next time. Pop your head round next time you come to town and if I am in I assure you it is free to browse. Thank you. - Pauline 29.05.15.
    Visited today and was amazed by the request for 50p charge - went back because I thought I had misunderstood the guy - alas not received the same rude, amazing and mad response - worth going back to wind the guy up. Would pay 50p to see what he did! - AN 29.05.15.
    Sorry to say the owner is still on with the 50 pence entry fee. Eventually the business will close through lack of custom and myself and Jack will lose our jobs. On the bright side other businesses in Hawes will feel sorry for us and give us another job. We may even be presented with a medal for our dedication and commitment to what was Bloomindales book shop. - Pauline Butler 25.07.15.
    My book loving teenager and I were accosted with a request for 50p to browse. To book lovers the pleasure is in browsing which he doesn't seem to understand. My condolences to the staff who work there ... and who probably love books! - Book Lover 26.07.15.
    This guy is a joke! I couldn't stop laughing when he asked me for 50p to come in I thought he was joking. So I just went in the bookshop next door and browsed quite peacefully and bought three books. This guy is losing business by being so unwelcoming.- Markg 08.08.15.
    Has anyone asked for a receipt for the money and mentioned in passing that they work for the Inland Revenue? - Harry 19.08.15.
    Pompous rude owner who attempted to charge us for entry with the generous offer of having the fee deducted from any books we bought. He seemed absolutely convinced that his approach was entirely rational and obviously completely subscribes in his mind to his warped and weird book shop entry policy. Surprised he gets any customers at all... All very amusing and we've all had a good old laugh about it (there were four of us which meant a hefty fee of £2 for all of us). Compared to the sum we would have spent on books, this was probably a bad decision on the owners part. Oh well! - Tilly Russett 08.02.16.
    I can only add to the comments already made by saying this bookseller is a disgrace to the trade. As a retired bookseller myself I would never, even in my wildest dreams, think of charging a potential customer to visit my shop. It is a great shame this awful man doesn't just hand over the business to somebody worthy of association with the book trade. - Harry the Bookman 18.04.16.
    Like many others here, I was appalled to be asked to pay an entry fee. The world of secondhand books is filled with lovely people, but this guy isn't one of them. I described the types of books I was looking for and asked whether he had any to make it worth my while paying to go in and he just said "you'll just have to pay to find out". My conclusion is that he knows he's selling a load of old rubbish and wouldn't make anything if he relied on honest trade. My sympathies to the people who work for him. - Keith Walker 08.07.16.
    How rude can a secondhand bookshop get? A lot worse. From 2010 to the present, his rudeness prevails. Enter at your own risk, you have been warned. - Mark 16.07.16.
    I add only this. I, unlike your other commentators, did once encounter the 'pay-to-enter' system. The owner of Bloomindaes may wish to ponder the fact that it closed not too long afterwards. - The Bookman 16.07.16.
    What a lot of hysteria over 50p. I paid up, had a wonderful browse and a very interesting chat with the helpful and pleasant owner,was thrilled to find some real bargains and got my 50p back - so all the comments about how much people would have spent had there not been a 50p charge is ridiculous as they would have got their 50p back anyway. As for the comment about the shop making him feel ashamed to be a book lover, well really - hope you never have a real crisis to deal with. My first visit to Hawes was enhanced by this bookshop, I will be happy to go there again. - Jean Norris 17.10.16.
    Well said sir. I believe the modern customer has the opinion that he can treat all shops as he would chain stores. He cannot. Customer if you want to return goods after you have worn them, buy them from a chain store. Small shops offer a different service. - bobthebook 13.01.17.
    The Daily Telegraph 5/1/17 Editorial says the town is lucky to have a second-hand bookshop when more than half such have closed down as people buy online. PS Don't many Book Fairs charge for entry? - Tony Carroll 13.01.17.
    Steve Bloom owner of bloomingdales, loves his books,and is a bit posessive. As a collector of 50 years this is a known trait of some sellers, quite normal, I commend his view. - Derek 13.01.17.
    A charge for entry what a brilliant idea! Bookshops are too often treated as bus/train waiting rooms, or libraries. There is a difference between browsing and reading a book from cover to cover with no intention of buying it. Booksellers have to make a living too! - Sarah 24.01.17.
    After a recent vist to Bloomindales Bookshop in Hawes, Chris Harte wonders why other small bookshops don't copy the Hawes concept ...more.
    Readers are referred to an article in today's (18 July 2017) Times, by Gabriela Swarling: 'The end. Britain's rudest bookseller shuts up shop'. It contains many illuminating details. - The Bookman 22.07.17.
    NOW UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT, from whom we received a very warm welcome. Mike 03.08.17.

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