Bookstore sales rose 1.8% in April, over the same period in 2016, according to preliminary estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Bookstore revenue hit $714 million in the month, compared to $701 million a year ago.

The increase marked the second consecutive month that bookstore sales rose over the comparable month in 2016.

The two-month spurt, however, was not quite enough to offset sluggish sales in January and February. As a result, sales for the first four months of 2017 fell 0.9%, compared to the January-April period in 2016, dropping to $3.54 billion from $3.57 billion.

For the entire retail segment, sales were up 3.3% in April, and sales for the year-to-date period increased 3.6%.