Bookstore sales posted a solid increase in April over 2021, rising 31.6% to $633 million, according to preliminary estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau. This year’s April sales reflect the impact of Easter occurring in mid-April in 2022 compared to early April last year.

April’s results were also only $6 million lower than the $639 million reported in 2019. In recovering from the pandemic, bookstore sales have struggled to reach 2019 levels, but the April figures could suggest monthly sales are closing in on those of 2019.

For the first four months of 2022, bookstore sales increased 19.4% over the comparable period in 2021, rising to $2.62 billion, from $2.19 billion in 2021. For the entire retail segment, April sales were up 8.3% over 2021, and year-to-date sales rose 11.2%.