Bookstore sales ended the first half of 2017 with a small gain over the comparable period in 2016, according to preliminary estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Sales rose by $11 million over the first six months of 2016, hitting $5.06 billion, an increase of 0.2%.

The small gain was driven by four consecutive months of modest sales increases in 2017 over 2016 after bookstore results had declined in January and February. In June, sales were up 1.5% over June 2016, reaching $721 million.

For the entire retail segment, sales for the first half of 2017 rose 4.0% over the comparable 2016 period and were up 2.2% in June.