After a one-month improvement in April, bookstore sales fell again in May, slipping 0.6%, to $763 million, from $768 million a year ago, according to preliminary estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

With the exception of April, bookstore sales having fallen every month in 2019 compared to 2018, due in part to strong sales of political books in the first half of 2018. Through the first five months of 2019, bookstore sales were down 5.1% compared to the same period in 2018. Sales dropped from $4.13 billion in first five months of 2018, to $3.90 billion, in this year's January-May period.

For the entire retail segment, May sales rose 3.2% over May 2018, while sales were up 3.1% in the first five months of 2019 over 2018.