With their sales rising 3.7% in September over a year ago, bookstores were up 8.5% in the first nine months of the year, according to preliminary estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Bookstore sales through September were $6.54 billion compared to $6.02 billion in the first nine months of 2021.

Bookstore sales in September were $860 million, up from $829 million in September 2021. With the exception of a dip in the summer, monthly bookstore sales have been running ahead of 2021 this year.

The gradual improvement has brought bookstore sales close to pre-pandemic levels in 2019. In the first nine months of 2019, bookstore sales were $6.63 billion, 0.8% higher than in 2022.

For the entire retail sector, September sales were up 9% and year-to-date sales rose 10.2%.