Despite some softness late in the year, bookstore sales in 2016 rose 2.5% over 2015, according to preliminary estimates released Wednesday morning by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Store revenue reached just under $12 billion last year compared to $11.68 billion in 2015. The increase marks the second consecutive year that bookstore sales have increased after seven years of decline.
The increase for the year came despite a 3.1% drop in bookstore sales in December 2016 compared to December 2015. Sales in the last month of 2016 were $1.41 billion, down from $1.45 billion. The improvement also occurred in a book environment that, with the exception of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, had no real huge hits.
Sales for the entire retail segment increased 3.2% in 2016, with a 4.6% sales gain in December.