For the second month in a row, bookstore sales posted large gains over 2022. According to preliminary figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, February bookstore sales increased 10.7% over last year, rising to $609 million from $550 million a year ago.

The February increase followed a nearly 16% sales jump in January sales. The combination of the two strong months resulted in a 14.3% rise in bookstore sales in the first two months of 2023 over the comparable period in 2022. Sales in 2023 were $1.60 billion, up from $1.40 billion in the first two months of 2022.

The encouraging results were another indication that industry sales may avoid a decline comparable to the 6% sales drop in 2022. Circana BookScan sales put unit sales through the first quarter of 2023 flat with 2022.

The jump in bookstore sales outpaced that for the entire retail sector where February sales rose 6% and year-to-date sales increased 7%.