Bookstore sales fell 3.7% in January, compared to the first month of 2016, according to preliminary estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Sales in the month were $1.49 billion, down from $1.55 billion during the same period a year ago.

According to the Census Bureau, sales for the entire retail segment rose 5.2% in January.

While bookstore sales rose 2.5% in 2016 over 2015, business softened in the second half of the year. Sources PW talked to attributed the weakened book market to distractions caused by the U.S. presidential election. Publishers and booksellers were hopeful that there would be a sales rebound after the election ended. Now, with these numbers, it's clear that the industry will have to keep waiting for that rebound.