Retail Sales at Bookstores Down in October

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Retail sales at U.S. bookstores were down by 4.6 percent in October 2017 compared to October 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 slightly more than two percent year to date.

The Census Bureau reported that October 2017 bookstore sales are estimated at $684 million, compared to sales of $717 million for the same period last year. Total retail and food service sales in October 2017 are estimated at $476.9 billion, compared to $454.6 billion in October 2016, an increase of 4.9 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

1,415

-9.5

September

1,083

1,016

-6.1

October

717

684 (p)

-4.6

YTD

9,104

8,838 (p)

-2.9

(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.