Important ABACUS Deadline Only Weeks Away

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The American Booksellers Association reminded booksellers this week that the deadline for participating in the ABACUS-11 Survey is August 15, 2012, less than two weeks away.

ABACUS is a unique ABA members-only survey that, for many years has helped indie bookstores improve their operations and bottom line. Input from hundreds of member bookstores is compiled in the aggregate to establish benchmarks, insight, and actionable information. ABACUS also provides valuable insight for ABA’s ongoing education curriculum.

The ABACUS survey is open to any ABA bookstore member that has been in business for the entire year covered in the survey and asks for basic sales data on new books, used books, and sidelines, as well as operating costs and other data. Store data is submitted to ABACUS via a completely secure and confidential electronic form. 

Morley Horder, owner of of Eagle Harbor Book Company, in Bainbridge Island, Washington, noted to Bookselling This Week that ABACUS “provided very critical information” that “has been extremely valuable in my ongoing efforts to run a profitable book store.”

He explained that he and store colleagues had recently focused on examining Eagle Harbor’s P&L “in detail for areas of improvement.” Having ABACUS as a baseline, he said, “challenged our thinking, helped us see what ‘best of best’ looks like, and what to strive for. Through our process of comparing ourselves to the most profitable stores our size (and those bigger and smaller), we have made several adjustments that together add up to significant improvement in the bottom line.”

Horder characterized ABACUS as “valuable, credible, and very useful for optimizing business operations.”

“We understand that for many bookseller participants submitting to ABACUS can be a last-minute task,” said Dan Cullen, ABA content officer. “But the message this week is clear: The last minute has almost arrived! We hope that the hundreds of bookstores that have participated in previous years will submit their numbers very soon, and that many additional stores will take the relatively short time necessary to be part of the ABACUS community. Everyone’s contributions will make sure that the ABACUS continues as a timely and relevant tool for growth and profitability.”

Cullen noted that stores that submit their numbers will receive a free customized report that analyzes their financial results, including comparisons with other businesses based on multiple criteria (such as sales level, store size, and community type) in addition to year-to-year trending information.

The owners and staff at ABA member bookstores that complete the ABACUS-11 Survey before the August 15 deadline are also eligible to apply for the Avin Mark Domnitz Scholarship to Winter Institute 8. The scholarship will cover travel expenses up to $350,  up to four nights’ accommodations at the Wi8 host hotel, and the $75 event meal fee.

This week, booksellers were e-mailed a reminder from Martha Love of OnCampus Research, the staff person responsible for the survey. The e-mail’s subject line was “ABACUS deadline coming soon,” and it contained the necessary information to participate in ABACUS-11.

Booksellers with questions about submitting data to the survey can contact Love at OnCampus Research via e-mail or at (800) 622-7498, ext. 2448. Booksellers who have general questions about ABACUS can contact ABA’s Cullen via e-mail or at (800) 637-0037 ext. 6660.

ABACUS participants can apply for the Domnitz Scholarship by sending an e-mail with “Domnitz Scholarship” in the subject line to ABA Education Manager Lisa Winn. The e-mail should include the applicant’s name, staff title, store name, and store contact information.