Preliminary estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau showed that bookstore sales rose 6.2% last year over 2021, rising to just under $9 billion, compared to $8.47 billion in the prior year. The sales total for 2022 was also higher than sales for 2019, the year many in publishing use to gauge the overall health of the industry before the pandemic began Bookstore sales in 2019 were $8.93 billion, 0.7% below sales last year.
Sales in December were up 1.9% over 2021, reaching $1.15 billion. Other months with sales topping $1 billion were January and August, during which back-to-college sales drive results. For the entire retail sector, sales in 2022 rose 9.2%, and December sales increased 5.2%.