Submit Now: ABACUS Financial Survey of Independent Bookstores

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ABACUS-17 logoAmerican Booksellers Association main store members were alerted last Friday, May 11, that the submission period had begun for the annual ABACUS financial independent bookstore survey.

An e-mail was sent by Michael Becher of Industry Insights, which assists ABA in compiling and creating ABACUS. The e-mail includes instructions on how to access this year’s survey, which members can complete securely online or download as a PDF to complete and return to Industry Insights.

The deadline for submitting to ABACUS-17 is Friday, June 15. ABA member bookstores can begin the submission process by going to If stores participated last year, the store account information has been carried forward. New participants will need to create an account to access the site.

ABA member bookstores attending BookExpo this month are urged to meet with Industry Insights’ Becher in the ABA Member Lounge on Wednesday, May 30, from noon to 5:00 p.m. and Thursday, May 31, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. He will answer questions about ABACUS, review the report’s many features — including online tools — and help booksellers prepare for submitting their store’s numbers.

Booksellers who would like to set up an appointment ahead of time can e-mail Becher at [email protected].

In addition, bookstores that have never submitted to ABACUS that participate in ABACUS-17 will this year have the option of registering an additional staff person for the upcoming Winter Institute, set for January 2019 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

ABACUS is an exclusive member benefit for participating bookstores, and this confidential survey of key bookstore financial information provides those participating stores with in-depth, customized reports that are an important tool for improving business operations and profitability.

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
  • 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.

Vroman’s and Book Soup have been participants in ABACUS for a very long time,” said J. Clark Mason II, the stores’ CFO. “We find the time spent completing the survey a valuable investment in good industry information. The survey results provide us with a substantial amount of financial data that compares our information with independent booksellers across the country. They also help us to identify expense categories that we could improve, which allows us to focus our efforts more precisely. I encourage all ABA members to take the time to participate.”

ABA member stores with questions about ABACUS can e-mail ABA Senior Strategy Officer Dan Cullen or Becher of Industry Insights.