Bookstore sales rose 2.4% in March, over the same month in 2016, according to preliminary estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Sales in March were $725 million, up from $708 million a year ago. The gain reverses a downward trend; in both January and February bookstore sales fell compared to the same period in 2016. The switch may indicate that readers have started to return to bookstores devoting much of their free time to following the presidential election, and the subsequent developments of the new administration.
The 2.4% increase in March, however, was not enough to completely offset the declines in the first two months of 2017. Sales for the first quarter of 2017 totaled $2.84 billion, a decline of 1.0% from the first period of 2016.
Sales for the entire retail segment increased 5.0% in March compared to March 2016, while sales in the first quarter were up 3.7%.