Retail Sales at Bookstores Up in March

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Retail sales at U.S. bookstores were up by 3.5 percent in March 2018 compared to March 2017, 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.

As of May, the year-to-date sales for independent bookstores, as reported to the weekly Indie Bestseller Lists, were up more than 5 percent over 2017.

The Census Bureau reported that March 2018 bookstore sales are estimated at $734 million, compared to sales of $709 million for the same period the previous year. Total retail and food service sales in March 2018 are estimated at $511.9 billion, compared to $484.6 billion in March 2017, an increase of 5.7 percent.

Period

2017 Final
(Millions of Dollars)

2018
(Millions of Dollars)

% Change
2018 over 2017

January

1,424

1,302

-8.6

February

690

708

2.6

March

709

734 (p)

3.5

YTD

2,823

2,744 (p)

-2.8

(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.