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British bookstore owner slammed for 50 pence 'browsing fee'

Associated Press logo Associated Press 1/5/2017

LONDON (AP) — A British bookshop owner who asks customers for a 50-pence (62-cent) browsing fee has been branded "the bookseller from hell."

Steve Bloom, who runs second-hand emporium Bloomingdales in Hawes, northern England, says he makes the request to find out whether visitors are serious about buying books, but does not actually collect the money.

John Blackie, chairman of Hawes Parish Council, says he has received more than 20 complaints in the past four years about Bloom's entry fee and his rudeness.

Blackie said Wednesday that "bookseller from hell" Bloom was harming the reputation of Hawes, a community in the picturesque Yorkshire Dales that he called "very much a friendly town."

Bloom said the council was overreacting, but acknowledged that he is "not really a people person."

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