Don’t Miss Out: ABACUS Deadline July 1

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There are just a few days left to join the hundreds of booksellers who have found the ABACUS survey to be an invaluable tool for financial and strategic planning: Submit your store’s 2015 financial data via a secure, confidential form by the July 1 deadline.

ABA Provisional member Noelle Santos, who is planning to open The Lit. Bar, a general interest bookstore/wine bar, in the Bronx, the northernmost borough of New York City, recently wrote an open letter to the bookselling community in which she encouraged all ABA member stores to participate in ABACUS by the July 1 deadline. “As a prospective bookseller, ABACUS is my lifeline,” Santos said. “ABACUS gives me something tangible, credible, and easily digestible to educate people that are integral to my progress.... Yours are the first reports my potential landlords look at because one day I will be small and new. For you vets in the game, the first thing my potential investors look at is your data to measure my potential with all my unique variables — that ABACUS so beautifully breaks down. Your surveys arm me against all those you-can-never-be-Greenlight-in-Brooklyns.”

Andy Perham, director of operations for Books Inc. in San Francisco, said, “ABACUS is a tremendous tool both in terms of helping outside groups understand the economics of bookselling and, more crucially for us, evaluating our stores’ financial strengths and weaknesses.”

Joyce Meskis, owner of Denver’s iconic Tattered Cover Book Store, said, “The ABACUS report is the most essential financial tool for a bookstore to have in budgeting and planning its profitability goals. The data collection of the report and its subsequent analysis ranges widely — which is exceptionally useful for the bookseller having just opened his or her first store, as well as for the most seasoned, complex organization.”

And Jessica Stockton Bagnulo, co-owner of Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn, New York, said, “I don’t know if bookstores realize what an incredible resource ABACUS is — one that’s not available in every industry, and one that I think has helped to fuel the resurgence of indie bookstores in recent years.... We spend time every year looking at our ABACUS report for what it tells us about our own company’s financial trends and how they compare to other stores and markets. This analysis has helped us to make informed decisions about our business, from creating yearly budget projections to making changes to our practices and infrastructure.”

Participants in ABACUS-15 will receive an executive summary of the survey’s overall findings and a confidential, customized report that puts their own store finances within a fully intelligible industry framework, providing context, insight, and essential benchmarking guidelines to improve a business’ performance.

To submit data to the ABACUS-15 survey, booksellers should look for the e-mail sent to them on May 26 from Martha Love of the National Association of College Stores’ (NACS) OnCampus Research with the subject line “Ready, Set, ABACUS — Survey Now Open.” The e-mail includes a link to the secure online ABACUS submission form, introductory information, and instructions and FAQs.

Booksellers with questions about submitting data to the survey should contact Love at OnCampus Research via e-mail at mlove@nacs.org or call (800) 622-7498, ext. 2448. Booksellers who have general questions about ABACUS should contact ABA’s Lisa Winn via e-mail or at (800) 637-0037, ext. 7557.