Still Time to Submit Data to ABACUS Survey

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ABA member bookstores still have time to submit their stores’ financial data to ABACUS-13. The deadline for submissions is midnight Eastern Time on Friday, August 15.

Booksellers are reminded that all stores that submit their data to ABACUS can apply for the Avin Mark Domnitz Scholarship to Winter Institute 10, scheduled from February 8 to 11, 2015, in Asheville, North Carolina. The scholarship will cover the Wi10 conference fee, travel expenses up to $350, and up to a four-night stay at the host hotel, The Omni Grove Park Inn.

The ABACUS data-entry process is much easier than in years past, with the introduction of software that automates calculations, and, in the estimation of many participating booksellers, the payoff for time invested is significant.

Carol Chittenden of Eight Cousins bookstore in Falmouth, Massachusetts, has queried in Bookselling This Week, “Why would anybody not [participate in] the ABACUS survey if you are serious about your business?” Underscoring its importance, she said that, among other things, the report allowed her to compare and benchmark expenses with other independent booksellers. And former ABA President Becky Anderson of Anderson’s Bookshops in Naperville, Illinois, has explained that she uses the ABACUS report to, “slice and dice so much information to see how we are doing compared to other stores of our size and sales.” Looking at the survey’s utility, Anderson said, “We use it every year to look into our payroll, sales per square foot, occupancy rates, gross margins, advertising costs compared to gross, rent/occupancy rates compared to profit, and so much more! It is the best piece of information that we use to make adjustments to the way we operate our stores on an everyday basis.”

Instructions for participating in ABACUS-13, the bookstore’s unique I.D. number, and links to the online submission form were sent to all ABA main store members at the end of June in an e-mail from Martha Love of the National Association of College Stores’ OnCampus Research, which is collecting and compiling the data for ABA. Questions about completing the survey should be sent to Love at OnCampus Research via e-mail to or by calling (800) 622-7498, ext. 2448.

Booksellers at stores that have submitted their 2013 financial data to ABACUS can apply for the Avin Mark Domnitz Scholarship by sending an e-mail with “Domnitz Scholarship” in the subject line to ABA Education Manager Lisa Winn. The e-mail should include the applicant’s name, staff title, store name, and store contact information.