Retail Sales at Bookstores Down in September [3]

Retail sales at U.S. bookstores were down by 0.9 percent in September 2018 compared to September 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 November 15, the year-to-date sales among ABA member stores, as reported to the weekly Indie Bestseller Lists, are up more than five percent over 2017.

The Census Bureau reported that September 2018 bookstore sales are estimated at $948 million, compared to sales of $957 million for the same period the previous year. Total retail and food service sales in September 2018 are estimated at $483 billion, compared to $471 billion in September 2017, an increase of 2.5 percent.

Period

2017 Final
(Millions of Dollars)

2018
(Millions of Dollars)

% Change
2018 over 2017

January

1,346

1,231

-8.5

February

651

669

2.8

March

667

694

4.0

April

689

670

-2.8

May

741

746

0.7

June

664

687

3.5

July

629

661

5.1

August

1,334

1,324 

-0.7

September

957

948 (p)

-0.9

YTD

7,678

7,630 (p)

-0.6

(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.