Bookstore sales fell 0.9% in April from April 2022, according to preliminary estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Sales were $580 million in the most recent April, down from $585 million a year ago. It was the first time bookstores fell in 2023 from the comparable month in 2022.

For the first quarter, bookstore sales rose 11.9% over 2022. With the decline in April, bookstore sales through the first four months of 2023 were up 8.9% over 2022, rising to $2.65 billion from $2.44 billion.

A notable statistic from the government report was that sales for the entire retail sector dipped 0.3% in April. Retail sales rarely fall on a monthly basis, and the dip in April could reflect the easing of the inflation rate.