ABA’s Backlist Buying Calculator Makes It Easy to Tally Up Savings

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The American Booksellers Association has created the new Backlist Buying Calculator to help booksellers make the most of publishers’ backlist offers by easily calculating their potential savings on a single purchase or a list of purchases. Booksellers can use the calculator, a self-calculating Excel spreadsheet, to try out different scenarios easily by changing just a few cells.

BB calculatorThis new buying tool, created by ABA Chief Financial Officer Robyn DesHotel, was first presented as part of ABA’s fall regional trade show education, in the session “Maximizing Backlist: Proven Ways to Market, Promote, and Sell Backlist Titles.” The session focused on how backlist titles can help store sales and bottom-line profits, especially given some publishers’ new backlist offers for Indies First.

“It’s actually a pretty simple tool. We’ve adjusted the fall education version to make it a bit easier for someone to pick it up and use, and it’s now posted on BookWeb.org,” said DesHotel. “You make changes to the blue cells based on your spend and the offer, and your total potential savings will calculate by itself.”

Jeanne Costello, who has been the buyer at Maria’s Bookshop in Durango, Colorado, for the last six years, said publishers’ offers on backlist and frontlist titles are better than ever this year, especially when combined with rapid replenishment services from publishers.

“When you apply these offers routinely, they add up and it’s really worthwhile,” said Costello. “I think that publishers have finally set up backlist offers that are functional enough that you can just apply them without all the extra labor needed to figure it out. They have really done a good job this year of making it easier.”

Costello, who has always used her own Excel system to track savings, said that this year’s publisher offers, in addition to rapid replenishment programs, will likely add a whole percentage point to the store’s profit margin.

“When it comes to buying, it can be hard to change because you get stuck in what you’re used to doing and what works. But utilizing these publisher offers is totally worth it,” she said.

Booksellers can login to BookWeb.org to access the new calculator as well as instructions on how to use it, in addition to the PowerPoint presentation from the “Maximizing Backlist” education session. Booksellers can e-mail [email protected] for login information.

The ABA Book Buyer’s Handbook includes the list of the numerous publisher and university press offers on backlist and frontlist titles available exclusively to ABA member booksellers in conjunction with Indies First on Small Business Saturday, this year November 25, as well as backlist programs, current special offers, and more.