For someone that bemoans the lack of variety on the UK high street, especially in bookshops, this was an interesting article in the Bookseller journal I found earlier. Having said that I do buy a fair amount of books, cds, dvds on the internet. I want my cake and to eat it?

The chief executive of Foyles has called for a “level playing field” on terms from publishers to reward bookshops’ 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 The Bookseller, said that discounts should not purely be driven on volume sales. “Value is not in price alone,” he said. “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.”

He added: “Competition, at least amongst high street booksellers, should surely encompass all these elements of value?”

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. “This is a shame because independents do a lot more for the market in terms of promotion,” he told The Bookseller. “They provide interesting shop fronts and employee-dedicated, knowledgeable booksellers at some considerable cost.”

Foyles this week revealed that it has reduced its net operating loss to £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 £20.2m with like for like growth of around 9%. The net operating loss for the previous trading year was down from £743,000. The independent opened two new branches in 2008 in St Pancras train station and the Westfield centre in White City.

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