Bookstore sales posted another huge gain in September, with sales jumping 42.1%, to $881 million, over 2020, during which September sales were $620 million, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. While sales growth has slowed since spring, monthly increases remain substantially over those of the 2020 slump, when many bookstores were shut to in-store shopping for much of the year.

Through the first nine months of 2021, bookstore sales were up 38.6% over the comparable period in 2020, reaching $6.44 billion. Despite the solid growth pattern, bookstore sales fell 4.7% compared to 2019. Still, there is a chance that full-year bookstore sales will top sales for all of 2019, when sales were $9.13 billion.

For the entire retail segment, sales were up 14.7% in September. Sales are up 20.2% in the year to date.