Reap the Benefits of ABACUS: Submit Your Data by September 27

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The American Booksellers Association is encouraging booksellers to participate in the ABACUS-16 survey of bookstore finances, a unique data source and analytic tool for indie bookstores.

Among the hundreds of booksellers who have found ABACUS to be a key tool for strategic and business planning, gaining access to capital, negotiating with landlords, and more is ABA Vice President Jamie Fiocco of Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

“I can’t imagine running my bookstore without ABACUS data.​ The way the information is presented allows me to decide how to budget and track my expenditures compared to stores like mine, and helps me set goals for growth by using data shown from larger stores,” said Fiocco. “​Our ABACUS data has helped in discussions with our landlord as well as with senior staff and buyers in understanding realistic budgets for rent, payroll, non­book items, and marketing. I really can’t emphasize enough how fantastic a tool our ABACUS data is to us, and I feel lucky the ABA makes this available to members at no cost.​”

For ABACUS to succeed, a critical mass of indie bookstores must complete the survey by September 27.

ABA member bookstores should look for the e-mail sent on August 23 from Michael Becher of Industry Insights (via the e-mail address with instructions on how to access this year’s survey. ABA members can complete the survey securely online or download a PDF version of the form to complete and return to Industry Insights.

The deadline for submitting to ABACUS-16 is Wednesday, September 27. ABA member bookstores can begin the submission process by going to Please note that you will have to set up a new ABACUS account from the secure ABACUS-16 website.

Once stores submit their 2016 financial data — which should take approximately 30 minutes — they are eligible to apply for the Avin Mark Domnitz Scholarship to attend the upcoming Winter Institute (January 22–25 in Memphis, Tennessee) by sending an e-mail with “Domnitz Scholarship” in the subject line to ABA Senior Strategy Officer Dan Cullen. The e-mail should include the applicant’s name, staff title, store name, and store contact information.

By submitting their store data for ABACUS-16, stores will receive a detailed individual store performance report that analyzes their financial results, including relevant and insightful benchmarking comparisons across a number of criteria.

As part of this new partnership with Industry Insights, in addition to the customized printed report, bookstores participating in ABACUS-16 will be able to access a secure and private online searchable results tool that allows users to compile ABACUS data using criteria that they select.

Booksellers with questions about submitting to ABACUS-16 are encouraged to contact Michael Becher, CPA, of Industry Insights at (614) 389-2100, ext. 114, or at Booksellers who have general questions about ABACUS can contact ABA’s Dan Cullen via e-mail or at (800) 637-0037, ext. 7560.