Bookstores sales rose 2.5% in 2015, marking the first time since 2007 that sales in the sector were up. According to preliminary figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau, total bookstore sales in 2015 hit $11.17 billion, up from $10.89 billion in 2014.
The numbers come after continued signs about the category strengthening. Sales from bookstores were strong throughout 2015, with December sales having risen 8.7%, to $1.42 billion. That bricks and mortar locations are performing so well will not be a surprise to anyone following the sales trend of books for the year, which showed print sales on the rise and e-book sales on the decline.
The rebounding of print--a number of major publishers have reported that their print sales rose in 2015, while their e-book sales declined--no doubt helped bricks and mortar outlets last year. The rise in print sales comes after a period of marked decline, when e-book sales were surging from 2009-2010.
Although the 2015 bookstore numbers are strong, they are not a total return to form for the category. Even with the increase in sales last year, total bookstore sales were still far off from there high point in 2007, when sales were over $17 billion.