Important Reminder About ABACUS 2006

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The American Booksellers Association is encouraging booksellers to send their 2005 financial data to the 2006 ABACUS survey. Completing the survey via a newly designed and easier-to-use web form takes approximately an hour, and, in return, ABA member booksellers receive valuable data that can help them make their businesses more profitable.

"The data provided in the ABACUS study has become a critical benchmark that booksellers can use to evaluate and improve their stores' financial performance," explained ABA CEO Avin Mark Domnitz. "In addition, ABACUS provides the foundation for much of the educational programming that we have been presenting at Booksellers Forums across the country this spring and that we'll present at BookExpo America this May."

Speaking about the forum and education program presented in Atlanta in March, Sara Look, co-owner of Charis Books & More, told BTW that she had found the ABACUS study invaluable and she expressed surprise that not all member stores participate in the survey. "[The ABACUS study] breaks the numbers down in so many different ways -- we can compare ourselves against similar stores in terms of salaries and benefits, as well as sales," she noted.

Each ABA member bookstore participating in the study receives a customized report with detailed analysis of their store's financial results; comparisons with other stores based on more than 20 different criteria; an executive summary of the study's key findings; key insights into the drivers of independent bookstore profitability; year-to-year trends data; and opportunities to participate in ancillary studies.

As an incentive to provide data for ABACUS 2006, booksellers who submit completed surveys by July 31, 2006, will receive $50 off their next ABA dues renewal. To make it easier for booksellers to submit their 2005 financial data, the ABACUS Web form is now self-calculating. Also new this year, the study has begun collecting data on a store's percentage of online sales.

With 278 ABA member bookstores -- representing 355 locations and approximately $379 million in sales -- submitting data to the 2005 survey (compared to 181 the previous year), the ABACUS study has clearly set a standard against which each store's financial results can be measured, providing participants, as well as the bookselling community as a whole, with invaluable information.

Booksellers who need help in filling out the ABACUS survey can contact ABA's Director of Special Projects David Walker at [email protected] or (800) 637-0037, ext. 6612. They can also make an appointment to meet with Walker at BookExpo America.