ABACUS is a yearly, members-only survey that gathers key information on financial operations and provides benchmarking goals and insight. The participation of hundreds of ABA members results in valuable data that help improve business operations and profitability. ABACUS also provides valuable insight for ABA Education. ABA regular bookstore and provisional members receive the most current ABACUS data upon joining the association; all other bookstore members are invited to submit their data on an annual basis to receive a report customized to their store.
The ABACUS Survey gathers financial data about operations from ABA member stores via a secure and confidential electronic form. Participating stores in ABACUS receive customized reports of aggregated data that analyzes their financial results, including comparisons with other stores based on multiple criteria—such as sales level, store size, and profitability. Participating stores also have a fully secure online dashboard, which offers sophisticated analytical tools for running dynamic reports and exploring trends across a number of criteria. The ABACUS report puts a store's finances within a fully intelligible industry framework, giving owners and managers context, insight, and essential benchmarking guidelines to improve the bookstore's performance.
Booksellers with questions about submitting to ABACUS are encouraged to contact Michael Becher, CPA, of Industry Insights at (614) 389-2100, ext. 114, or at email@example.com. Booksellers who have general questions about ABACUS can contact ABA’s Dan Cullen via e-mail or at (800) 637-0037, ext. 7560.
Booksellers who would like to learn more about ABACUS can check out the presentation from the 2019 ABA Spring Forums: “ABACUS and Pre-Orders: Two Programs You Can’t Do Without.”
"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 pored over ABACUS when creating financial projections for Greenlight's initial business plan having hard data from hundreds of stores nationwide made our sales and expense estimates more realistic, and convinced potential lenders, landlords, etc. that we did in fact know what we were doing. 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.It takes us a day or two to pull together our data for the survey each year, but it more than pays off in the use we get out of the report. But the data is only as good as the stores that participate the more of us take part, the more useful this excellent tool can be! When more bookstores have better data, they can make more informed decisions, and become more successful companies, and thereby support their staff and bring books to their communities it's as simple as that."– Jessica Stockton Bagnulo, Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, NY
“ABACUS is a tremendous tool both in terms of helping outside groups understand the economics of bookselling and, more crucially for us, evaluating our own stores’ financial strengths and weaknesses.The ability to compare our stores’ Profit and Loss statements with other bookstores across the country whose anonymous information is grouped so that we can compare against stores similar to ours is very effective in helping us be as healthy as possible. For the minimal amount of time it takes to submit your information, the rewards are overwhelming.”
– Andy Perham, Books Inc., San Francisco, CA
“ABACUS has been an invaluable tool for me personally as well as previously in my role as President of SIBA. I encourage all stores to take an hour or two out of their day to submit their data, helping out themselves, their regionals, and paying it forward so the data is there to help out prospective new booksellers as well.”– Jill Hendrix, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC