The Booksellers Association of the United Kingdom & Ireland Limited

The Fitness Programme was established by the BA’s Independent Booksellers Forum as a means by which independent booksellers could gain more insight into their business, and thereby improve their business performance. In complete confidence, participating bookshops provide data on key fitness indicators such as trading space, opening hours, staff numbers, turnover, margins and overheads. The average and best performance for each measure is calculated.

Participating bookshops receive an individual shop report, highlighting their performance against the average and ‘similar’ shop performance.
Participants also end up with a report on the independent sector which will help you to focus on the areas which need attention, and give a snapshot of this crucially important sector.

The booksellers who have taken part tell us that they have benefited massively from their participation, many using it to negotiate better deals with suppliers, some using it to help inform their business plans, some using it to talk to bank managers, and others to look at staff costs.  

Why should I join the IBF Fitness Programme?
  • Participation is completely FREE.
  • You receive a personalised report with constructive, actionable data.
  • You will end up with a report on the independent sector which helps you to focus on the areas of your business which need attention.

How can the programme help my bookshop?
Past participants have used the findings to:
  • Negotiate better deals with suppliers.
  • Form business strategies.
  • Review staff costs.
  • Talk to bank managers.

Case Study

Sheila O’Reilly from Dulwich Books previously took part in the programme and used the programme’s findings to refit her shop.
“It’s a lonely world being an independent bookseller, so a report like this is in invaluable. You can return to it again and again, and is, I believe, a key tool in running a business.”   

How can I take part?

To participate all you need to do is complete a spreadsheet available from the BA (2016 available soon) and then email it to Steve Bohme at Nielsen Book Research, on In this instance you will be asked to provide both latest and previous year figures, but in following years you will only need to update with figures for a single year.

For further information, please contact Meryl Halls  or Pippa Halpin.