Britain's Booksellers Association (BA) says that charity book shops which operate like professional businesses should not benefit from tax breaks which give them an unjust competitive advantage over for-profit bookshops.
The BA argues that many charity book shops are professionally run and staffed by experienced retailers. One charity is believed to have more outlets in the UK selling books than the largest specialty bookshop.
BA members specifically reported that The Healthy Planet, a new bookshop in Shepherds Bush, West London, was offering titles by bestselling authors and that the charity was now approaching publishers for stock.
Tim Godfray, chief executive of the Booksellers Association, said, "Trading conditions for High Street retail booksellers are extremely tough in the current climate and unfair competition from charity bookshops is something our members do not need. If we are serious about protecting retail diversity on the High Street, we need to review the strong tax and rate concessions given to charities who run shops. If a charity shop sells new goods, why should it benefit from tax and business rate concessions?"
BA members think that The Healthy Planet has strayed from its stated goal of dealing in genuinely unwanted titles and is now competing with booksellers on the street.