Bookstore sales took a tumble in September, falling 8.2%, to $1.39 billion, according to preliminary estimates released Wednesday morning by the U.S. Census Bureau. Last September was the final month of Borders' going-out-of business sales. For the first nine months of 2012, bookstore sales were down 1.6%, to $11.64 billion.

For the entire retail segment, September sales rose 3% and sales in the nine month period were 5.5% ahead of the same span in 2011.