The deadline for booksellers to submit their store’s information to the ABACUS-11 Survey is fast approaching, and the American Booksellers Association is urging bookstore members to participate now.
The deadline for participating in ABACUS-11 is Wednesday, August 15.
Recently, a number of booksellers have reiterated what a unique and important tool ABACUS is for their store’s growth and profitability.
In this week’s President’s Letter, ABA President Becky Anderson characterized ABACUS as “an incredible tool.” She noted that she and her colleagues at Anderson’s Bookshops in Naperville, Illinois, use the survey’s customized report — which they receive free for participating in the ABACUS survey — to “slice and dice” so much information to see how they are doing compared to other stores of their size and sales. “We use it every year to look into our payroll, sales per square foot, occupancy rates, gross margins, advertising costs compared to gross, rent /occupancy rates compared to profit, and so much more!” Anderson said. “It is the best piece of information that we use to make adjustments to the way we operate our stores on an everyday basis.”
Morley Horder, owner 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.”
And Allison Hill from Vroman’s in Pasadena, California, commented, “We’re big fans of ABACUS. We’ve participated for years, and we’ve used the reports for all kinds of purposes: negotiating leases, training our buyers on cost of goods, training managers on the business, determining pay scales, establishing priorities, etc.” She said that she considers ABACUS “one of the most valuable tools the ABA provides our stores.”
In addition, 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.
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.
ABA member bookstores recently were e-mailed an ABACUS-11 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.
“We’re getting down to the wire for ABACUS submissions, and we do need more participation from member bookstores to ensure that ABACUS-11 is a successful survey” said Dan Cullen, ABA content officer. “But we know from participants that they believe the approximately 45 minutes or so that it takes to submit your store’s information is well worth the investment of time. Very many thanks to all those who have already submitted, and we hope many more booksellers will join them in the coming days.”
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.