August 12 Deadline for New & Improved ABACUS

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This year’s ABACUS-10 Survey will provide booksellers with more detailed comparisons than previous surveys regarding crucial areas affecting their bookstores’ bottom line. Significant changes have been made to the survey, which is underway now, based on feedback and suggestions from booksellers on ABA’s ABACUS Task Force. Several new questions have been added, and, as a result, ABACUS-10 results will provide key new criteria for comparisons and analysis. Data in store reports will also be presented more visually, through the expanded use of charts and graphs.

The graph above from last year’s ABACUS Survey of bookstores’ 2009 financial operations shows that operating expenses other than compensation become more manageable as store volume grows. Lower volume stores have a harder time absorbing fixed costs and often need a different business model to be profitable. For this reason, it is important to be growth minded. 

Booksellers like Bob Sommer at Tempe, Arizona’s Changing Hands Bookstore and Nicole Magistro of Colorado’s The Bookworm of Edwards note that they relied on the crucial information that ABACUS has provided to help them make decisions about store growth, business loans, and lease negotiations.

“No matter what size store you have or whether your sales are up or (like ours) not exactly up this year, your participation in the survey is so important to all of us,” said Sommer.  “And, I guarantee, the knowledge you gain in the process will be of use to you, too.”

Data gathering is via a completely secure and confidential electronic form. Once submitted, data is only accessible to Martha Love of the National Association of College Stores (NACS) OnCampus Research, which is compiling and producing ABACUS-10 reports for ABA. The deadline for all submissions is August 12.

Information about participating in the survey and a unique survey I.D. number were sent to bookstore members on Friday, June 3, in an e-mail from Love bearing the subject line “ABACUS10 Survey STARTS TODAY.”

Booksellers with questions about submitting data to the survey should contact Love at OnCampus Research via e-mail. Booksellers with general questions about ABACUS should contact ABA COO Len Vlahos.