Bookselling by the Numbers

Last week at the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association (MPIBA) fall tradeshow, I put on a seminar titled Bookselling by the Numbers, where I discussed some of the various metrics used for measuring success of a bookstore. I spent most of the seminar, however, talking about inventory strategies and how they change depending on whether you’re looking at profit margin, cashflow, inventory turns, or return on investment. The concept for the seminar came from Leonard Shatzkin’s monograph, The Mathematics of Bookselling, but I made quite a few changes, as the business is a bit different now than it was in 1997—especially given the recent renaissance in indie bookstores.

Topics covered include:

  • Pick your metrics: Profit, Cashflow, Turns, and ROI
  • Sales per Square Foot vs. Sales/Rent
  • Your hidden money drain: Carrying Cost
  • When you can live with Lower Margins
  • Doing the math on Wallpaper
  • Profit and Cashflow with Remainders
  • Doing the math on Returns

The slides from the presentation are available here for download (it’s a 1.1MB PDF file). As always, I welcome comments and questions on the presentation! If you didn’t attend, it may be a bit difficult to get the whole message, as the slides are just meant as accompaniment to the presentation.

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