Bookstore Finances

Bookstore Finances is designed to educate on the day to day and long term finance-related needs of an independent bookstore, considering both high level financial topics such as taxes and accounting and deep dives into financial reporting and strategy. A mix of live classes via Zoom, handouts, and assignments will be used to guide the student towards creating financial systems and strategies for real-time applications. This course is geared towards store owners and/or managers who handle finances on a day to day basis and is for educational purposes only, meaning no certification is earned for this course.

Space in this non-certification course is limited to 20 Active Level students and 20 Auditing students. Only one person at a time per store may enroll.

2024 Student Resource Page

2024 Instructors

Core Faculty:

  • Dean Candice Huber, Owner, Tubby & Coo’s, New Orleans, LA

  • Instructor Melissa DeMotte, Owner, Well Read Moose, Coeur d'Alene, ID

  • Instructor Jill Hendrix, Owner, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

  • Instructor Steve Iwanski, Owner, Charter Books, Newport, RI

  • Instructor Carol Price, Owner/Buyer, Book People of Moscow, Moscow, ID

Guest Instructors: 

  • Molly Olivo, Child’s Play, Washington, DC

  • Cyanne Stonesmith, Trident Booksellers and Cafe, Boulder, CO

  • PK Sindwani, Chief Financial Officer at ABA, ABACUS representative


Being an active member of the bookselling industry is a critical step in growing a bookstore and shows commitment to your chosen profession. All students in Professional Booksellers School courses are required to work in Independent Bookstores who are current members of their regional trade association and/or the American Booksellers Association.

Students must also be enrolled in PBS, which is free.

People who do not work in Independent Bookstores are currently not eligible for PBS courses.

Course Components & Cost

In 2024 we are introducing two different levels of participation in order to accommodate more booksellers.

Students can enroll either as:

Active Students: people who are committed to attending classes and office hours and doing all of the homework assignments. 20 Active Students tickets are available. (Note: Active Students who are not store owners will be asked for a letter from the store owner stating that the support the student taking the course and are willing to listen to feedback from homework assessments.)

Auditing Students: people who may attend live or watch the videos, and who will not e doing homework assignments. 20 Auditing Student tickets are available.

This course consists of 13 live online classes via Zoom and discussions, chat, and office hours via Discord. Homework is assigned for each class and will be reviewed by an instructor and feedback given, although there are no grades for this course. Students are expected to attend the live classes and complete all homework assignments to get the most out of this course. 

The course is $400, with discounts available for members of NAIBA, CALIBA, NEIBA, MIBA, GLIBA, SIBA, and MPIBA. Find out what support your Regional Trade Association offers on our website.

Registration Requirements

  1. Before you register you must join PBS as a member. Membership is free, and joining ensures you receive our newsletter and can access course resources.

  2. Only one person per store may enroll in the course

  3. As a requirement of the course, students must be a store owner or manager who can access the store's financial information. Their stores must be members in good standing of the ABA and/or their Regional Trade Association.

  4. Participants must have owned or managed a retail bookstore (this includes mobile, pop-ups, and other novel model shops) that has been in existence for at least one year and must have a bookkeeping system and access to the store’s finances and financial documents. Stores must use a POS system that tracks individual inventory and supports purchase orders/receiving

Course Objectives

This course will provide a thorough overview of financial systems, reports, and strategies for an independent bookstore. At the conclusion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate confidence in finance and a general understanding of bookstore finance basics.

  • Employ necessary language to confidently speak to accountants, bookkeepers, financial advisors, and other finance professionals.

  • Customize their Chart of Accounts to make it work better for them.

  • Efficiently and successfully complete the ABACUS survey.

  • Implement practical tips and strategies immediately to improve their understanding of their store’s finances.

  • Establish a financial rhythm that makes sense for them.

Major Project 

By the end of this course, students will have created a full ongoing financial dashboard. Assignments for each class will build on this overall course project so that by the end of the course, the financial dashboard will be fully functional. 


May 6   Class 1: How to Succeed in Bookstore Finances

May 13  Class 2: Daily Store Finance

May 20  Class 3: Vendor, Debt, & Tax Management

June 3   Class 4: Working with ABACUS

June 17  Class 5 Event, Promo, & Co-Op Management

June 24  Class 6: Staff Financial Management

July 1     Class 7: Accounting Basics

July 8    Class 8: Bookkeeping for Booksellers

July 15   Class 9: Cash Flow Deep Dive

July 22   Class 10: Balance Sheet Deep Dive

July 29  Class 11: Profit & Loss Deep Dive

August 5  Class 12: Creating & Analyzing Your Budget

August 12  Class 13: Creating Your Ongoing Financial Dashboard

Learning Outcomes

As a result of this course, you will have the knowledge to:

  • Create an ongoing financial dashboard, fully understand how to analyze it, and take action on your analysis.

  • Create financial goals for your store.

  • Create a daily cash and credit card reconciliation system.

  • Implement internal controls to reduce chances of theft or embezzlement.

  • Track your debt and understand your financing options.

  • Create a tax calendar.

  • Create a system for managing your invoices.

  • Understand the varying types of wages and benefits you can offer to employees. 

  • Understand when to use 1099 vs W2 employees.

  • Understand when and how to pay different types of payroll taxes.

  • Determine how much payroll your store can afford to invest. 

  • Build an event P&L statement.

  • Build a tracking system for promos & co-op.

  • Understand how to successfully complete the ABACUS survey.

  • Speak to your accountant using their terminology.

  • Develop an accounting task schedule.

  • Customize your Chart of Accounts to meet your reporting needs.

  • Run Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet reports, fully understand how to analyze those reports, and take action on your analysis.

  • Understand the difference between cash, profit, and sales.

  • Create strategies to manage your cash flow.

  • Understand how to read an official cash flow statement.

  • Create a budget, fully understand how to analyze it, and take action on your analysis.