For the first half of the year, bookstore sales were 6.1% ahead of the comparable period in 2015. According to estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau, bookstores totaled $5.44 billion in the January-June 2016 span, up from $5.13 billion a year ago.

Bookstore sales in 2016 rose every month compared to 2015, including in June when sales increased 5.0% to $770 million.

The bookstore sector performed better than the entire retail segment. Sales for all of retail rose 3.3% in June over the comparable month in 2015 and were up 3.1% for the first half of 2016.

The solid bookstore performance in the first six months of 2016 follows a 2.5% increase for all of 2015, the first time bookstore sales posted an annual gain since 2007.