With sales dipping 0.5% in December, bookstore sales in 2013 fell 1.6%, to $13.19 billion, according to preliminary estimates released Thursday morning by the U.S. Census Bureau. Bookstore sales in December were $1.48 billion compared to $1.49 billion in December 2012. Sales for the entire retail segment were up 4.0% for 2013.
Although the final 2013 bookstore figures are likely to be adjusted, as it stands now the 1.6% decline is the smallest drop in at least five years. In 2012, bookstore sales declined 3.3%. The steepest drop in bookstore sales came in 2011 when revenue fell 10.2%. Between 2009 and 2013, bookstore sales dropped 17.2%.