A couple who were splashed across the national press when they delivered a petition to 10 Downing Street calling on Amazon to pay corporation tax in the UK have sold their two bookshops.
Keith and Frances Smith who owned Warwick Books and Kenilworth Books have sold both the indies to new owners and plan to travel around Europe before moving to Cornwall in retirement.
The outspoken pair claimed the limelight two years ago after launching a petition on Change.org calling for Amazon to pay corporation tax in the UK, in the same way they did. The petition gained over 176,000 signatures and was also supported by Stephen Fry on Twitter.
New owners Mog and Pauline Harris took official ownership of Warwick Books on Tuesday (28th April) after training in the shop with Keith Smith since February. Meanwhile, Judy Brook bought Kenilworth Books last year.
Keith Smith said: “I have owned the Warwick bookshop for 13 years after setting it up from scratch. It has been like Christmas every day opening a new box of books that has been delivered. There has not been a single day in that period that I have not wanted to come into work. Have done a lot of things in my life but not lasted more than four years because I’ve got bored but these last 13 years have sped by.”
He said that publishing and bookselling was a “lovely industry full of truly nice people” and that a highlight had been meeting authors and arranging author events at his shop. "Now we plan to visit our son who has moved to Switzerland, visit Frances' sister in Barcelona and then move down to Cornwall and walk the Cornish Coastal Way."
New owner Mog Harris said she had grown up in Warwick and was told that the bookshop was up for sale by her parents while living in France with Pauline.
“We both love books and the more we thought about it, the more we thought this is something we could do together and something we could be passionate about,” she said.
Mog is a former theatre stage designer and Pauline has been a director for a youth charity in France.
“We are really excited about running the new shop, but there is a lot to learn,” Mog said.