The deadline is Wednesday, June 12, for booksellers to submit their responses to ABACUS-18, the American Booksellers Association’s annual financial benchmarking survey. The ABACUS-18 survey is live and available for participation now.
ABACUS is a free, exclusive member benefit for participating bookstores. The customized reports and online tools that reporting stores receive in return for filling out the survey provide a full picture of a bookstore’s financial performance, presented with benchmarking information across a number of categories, including sales volume, profitability, and market size. In addition to the detailed overall and store-specific reports, ABACUS’ online tools allow participating stores to generate additional dynamic reports.
By becoming part of the ABACUS community of participating bookstores, booksellers will receive:
- a full ABACUS benchmarking report (including comparative financial ratios, operations data, and company profile information),
- a customized bookstore performance report, and
- a range of online reporting tools that provide a wide variety of specific analyses, allowing stores to evaluate performance versus similar companies and track their company’s performance over time against the industry results, among other criteria.
“Running a bookstore without ABACUS is like trying to drive a car blindfolded,” said Len Vlahos of Tattered Cover Book Store in Denver, Colorado. “If we don’t understand, at a visceral level, the drivers of profitability, we can’t create a budget, manage payroll, make decisions about product mix, or have meaningful conversations with our landlords. It’s as necessary to our business as a point of sale system, a website, or phone system.”
This year, ABA will again be working to compile and create the ABACUS report with Industry Insights in 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. In compiling the data and preparing individual reports, no one from ABA ever sees any store’s individual data, which is only available to select staff at Industry Insights and kept strictly confidential.
ABA member bookstore received instructions to access the survey on May 6 in an e-mail from Michael Becher of Industry Insights, with the subject line “ABACUS-18 Benchmarking Survey.” Booksellers are encouraged to check with their colleagues or in their spam folder if they did not receive the e-mail.