The streak of monthly bookstore sales declines reached six in January. According to preliminary estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, bookstore sales fell 9.1% in January 2018 compared to the first month of 2017. Sales fell from $1.42 billion last year to $1.30 billion.
The January drop followed sales declines in the last five months of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016. For all of 2017, bookstore sales fell 3.6%.
Bookstore sales include results from college stores and with January an important month for those outlets as students head back for the spring semester, the large January decline likely reflects a move away by students from buying print textbooks at stores in favor of buying more digital products and renting more books.
For the entire retail segment, sales rose 5% in January over the first month of 2017.