Retail Sales at Bookstores Down in August

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Retail sales at U.S. bookstores were down by 10.9 percent in August 2017 compared to August 2016, according to preliminary figures recently released by the Bureau of the Census. Estimates reflect sales of all types of participating bookstores, including trade, college, religious, chain stores (including superstores), and others.

Sales for independent bookstores, as reported to the weekly Indie Bestseller Lists, were up 2 percent year to date.

The Census Bureau reported that August 2017 bookstore sales are estimated at $1,394 million, compared to sales of $1,564 million for the same period last year. It also noted that total retail and food service sales in August 2017 of an estimated $491.6 billion, compared to $473.1 billion in August 2016, an increase of 3.9 percent.

 

Period

2016 Final
(Millions of Dollars)

2017
(Millions of Dollars)

% Change
2017 over 2016

January

1,451

1,424

-1.9

February

710

690 

-2.8

March

708

709

0.1

April

701

733

4.6

May

774

788

1.8

June

710

707

-0.4

July

686

672

-2.0

August

1,564

1,394 (p)

-10.9

YTD

7,304

7,117 (p)

-2.6

(p) Preliminary figure

Note: Estimates reflect sales of all types of participating bookstores, including trade, college, religious, chain stores (including superstores), and others. A bookstore is defined as any retail establishment with sales comprised of more than 50 percent new books and periodicals, and estimates include sales of all products in these stores.