Husain calls for 'level playing field'

<p>The chief executive of Foyles has called for a &quot;level playing field&quot; on terms from publishers to reward bookshops&rsquo; roles in promoting and providing information about titles. Sam Husain said that he has planned a series of meetings with publishers to discuss fairer terms for independents. While he did not call for a return to the Net Book Agreement, Sam Husain, in a letter to <em>The Bookseller</em>, said that discounts should not purely be driven on volume sales. &quot;Value is not in price alone,&quot; he said. &quot;Good service, information on books and authors, range, presentation, immediate availability of books, and a pleasant shop environment are all part of the value delivered to customers.&quot;<br /><br />He added: &quot;Competition, at least amongst high street booksellers, should surely encompass all these elements of value?&quot;<br /><br />He said that the pending closure of crime specialist Murder One in London was an example of a bookstore struggling to survive in a market where volume sales are rewarded by publisher discounts. &quot;This is a shame because independents do a lot more for the market in terms of promotion,&quot; he told T<em>he Bookseller</em>. &quot;They provide interesting shop fronts and employee-dedicated, knowledgeable booksellers at some considerable cost.&quot;<br /><br />Foyles this week revealed that it has reduced its net operating loss to &pound;194,000 in 2008, with sales increasing by more than 12% compared to the previous year. For the 12 months ending 30th June, the independent reported sales of &pound;20.2m with like for like growth of around 9%. The net operating loss for the previous trading year was down from &pound;743,000. The independent opened two new branches in 2008 in St Pancras train station and the Westfield centre in White City. </p>