ABACUS-16 Survey Now Open

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ABACUS-16, the American Booksellers Association’s annual financial benchmarking survey, has launched, and bookstores can begin submitting their data in an anonymous and fully secure online platform.

The ABACUS project, available only to ABA members, is a confidential survey of key bookstore financial information that provides participating stores with in-depth, customized reports that are an important tool for improving business operations and profitability.

“ABACUS is one of the most important resources provided by ABA. It is a form of financial networking that, in my opinion, is as important as any other services that ABA provides, if not more,” said P.K. Sindwani of Towne Book Center & Café in Collegeville, Pennsylvania. “I use ABACUS with the essentials, such as comparing cost of sales, gross margin, payroll, and lease negotiations. I can’t stress enough the importance of submitting data for ABACUS. The more participation there is, the more reliable the data becomes.”

“The value of ABACUS to my store continues to grow in new ways each time I receive the annual report. Each year, I look for ways to make my bookstore more efficient, more profitable,” said Shawn Wathen of Chapter One Book Store in Hamilton, Montana. “The time I spend inputting data into the survey is minimal, especially when compared to the wealth of information I receive and can then use immediately. I cannot understand why any bookshop owner/manager would balk at participating in this program. Without ABACUS, I would feel unprepared to meet the challenges of modern bookselling.”

This year, ABA will be working to compile and create the ABACUS report with Industry Insights, of Dublin, Ohio, a company that has worked with associations for more than 35 years in preparing studies of business demographics, operations information, and financial ratios. An e-mail was sent today to ABA member bookstores from Michael Becher of Industry Insights (via the e-mail address aba@industryinsights.com) with instructions on how to access this year’s survey. Members will be able to complete the survey securely online or they may 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 www.ABACUSbenchmarking.com.

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.

“ABACUS is unique, and only available to ABA members. There is no comparable data source or analytic tool for independent bookstores. Booksellers nationwide, in markets of all sizes, have found ABACUS to be an essential key to strategic and business planning, access to capital, negotiations with landlords, and much more. This year’s report will have more functionality than ever, and we at ABA hope that as many bookstores as possible will complete the survey and become part of the larger ABACUS community,” said ABA Senior Strategy Officer Dan Cullen.

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 mbecher@industryinsights.com. Booksellers who have general questions about ABACUS can contact ABA’s Dan Cullen via e-mail or at (800) 637-0037, ext. 7560.