August bookstore sales rose 5.4% over 2021, increasing to $1.14 billion from $1.08 billion in August 2021, according to preliminary estimate released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The August increase followed two months of sales declines. With college students returning to school, August is traditionally the second biggest month for bookstore sales, trailing only December. The sales gain likely reflects the reopening of more college bookstores that had been closed due to the pandemic, and could also show the impact of higher book prices.

With sales bouncing back in August, bookstore sales in the first eight months of the year were up 9.3% from the comparable period in 2021, hitting $5.68 billion.

For the entire retail segment, August sales rose 10.7% over the comparable period in 2021. In the year-to-date, retail sales were up 10.3%.