Bookstore sales ended the first six months of 2018 an a positive note with June sales rising 5.3% over June 2017, according to preliminary estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. Sales in June were $699 million, up from $664 million in 2017.

Bookstore sales have largely recovered from a weak January when sales fell 9.1%, due to what some industry observers saw as soft sales at college stores. For the first six months of 2018, sales were down 1.0%, to $4.71 billion, compared to the same period a year ago.

For the entire retail sector, May sales were up 2.8% over May 2017 and year-to-date sales rose 5.3% over the first six months of 2017.