ABA to Independents: Let's Be Counted

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The book industry and the press are increasingly depending on Nielsen BookScan for figures on book sales from across all retail channels, and Nielsen BookScan estimates that currently its data represents between 70 and 75 percent of the entire bookselling market.

ABA and Nielsen BookScan, a division of VNU Marketing Information, Inc. (parent company of AC Nielsen), have partnered to create a fast, efficient method for booksellers to report their weekly data to the Book Sense Bestseller List. Book Sense stores that already report their figures to ABA will save considerable time by reporting them to Nielsen BookScan instead. Nielsen BookScan will then forward the information to ABA. Jeff Wexler, ABA's director of technical services, described BookScan as "by far the easiest method to transmit Book Sense Bestseller List sales data to ABA."

Using Nielsen BookScan to report is not only free, bookstores that have a service contract will also receive a free POS software upgrade.

Almost any independent bookstore with a standard computerized inventory control system and a phone line or an Internet connection is able to report to BookScan. Inventory control systems that are compatible with Nielsen BookScan are Anthology, Book Log, Books in Store, Computac, Square One, IBID, and WordStock.

In addition, a reporting bookstore each week receives information that allows it to compare its sales results with book sales within its local market area. Participating stores receive the following information each week:

1) Top 100 Overall Bestsellers
2) Top 100 Adult Fiction Bestsellers
3) Top 100 Adult Nonfiction Bestsellers
4) Top 100 Children's Bestsellers
5) Top 50 Bestsellers in Local Market

Nielsen BookScan's procedures for reporting sales are very user friendly and quick. File creation and transmission is processed through the bookstore's point-of-sale system (POS). Dan Schreffler of Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza in Albany, New York, said, "It takes two keystrokes and the information gets sent -- cutting two steps from the current method." Dale Szczeblowski of Concord Bookshop in Concord, Massachusetts, stated, "It's a snap! I let the POS system do all the work."

Independent booksellers also benefit by saving time, which can be dedicated to store operations. Babette Heistand of R.J Julia Booksellers in Madison, Connecticut, explained, "It saves me about one hour which I can dedicate to the store, especially during the holiday season."

Bookstores report all sales information on a weekly basis for books, books on tape/CD, calendars, and other items regularly sold by bookstores, by Monday, 11:00 p.m. EST. Nielsen BookScan then sends the data to ABA. Data that is sent to Nielsen BookScan does not include prices at which titles are sold, just ISBN and quantity. All information is entirely confidential and is aggregated with that of all other reporters.

For more information about how to report through Nielsen BookScan, contact Jeff Wexler at (800) 637-0037, ext. 1274 or e-mail [email protected], or contact Nielsen BookScan's Retail Book Coordinator David Lopez at (914) 684-5513 or e-mail [email protected].