Taking Cue From ABA, CBA Launches ABACUS

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

The Canadian Booksellers Association (CBA) recently announced that it will soon be launching a Canadian version of ABACUS, "the financial study of the independent bookselling community pioneered by ABA," as reported by Canadian Bookseller, CBA's bimonthly trade magazine.

In the article, "A Profitability Study Made to Measure for Canadian Booksellers," CBA Executive Director Susan Dayus noted, "Placing an independent business in the big picture can be difficult without any concrete comparative data on bookstores sales.... CBA wants to provide its members with what ABA has established for its booksellers with ABACUS: an organized, secure, confidential survey that takes minimal time to complete." Similar to ABA's ABACUS, booksellers who participate in the CBA study will receive an in-depth financial analysis of their store individually and as part of a larger group of Canadian independents.

CBA's ABACUS survey will be based on 2005 data and will remain open until July in an effort to accommodate all CBA bookseller members. "ABACUS has set the standard by which to measure independent bookselling," Dayus noted. "As we will see, this invaluable tool will work for Canadian independent booksellers immediately.... By contributing to Canadian ABACUS, you can strengthen not just your bottom line, but the independent bookselling community as a whole."

Data gathering for ABA's ABACUS study is currently underway, and member booksellers are being encouraged to submit their store financial data as soon as possible. In return for their participation, stores will receive a $50 rebate off their next ABA dues renewal, a customized report with detailed analysis of the store's financial results, and the satisfaction of knowing that they are helping the independent bookselling community as a whole.

Completing the survey via the easier-to-use, self-calculating Web form only takes about an hour and help is only a phone call or e-mail [to David Walker, ABA director of special projects, at (800) 637-0037, ext. 6612, or [email protected]] away. Walker will also be available to provide assistance in completing the ABACUS form at this year's BookExpo America. To make an appointment, booksellers should contact him via e-mail.

Each ABA member bookstore participating in the study also receives 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.

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 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 critical information. --David Grogan