The soft bookselling climate reported by a wide range of bookstores in December was reflected by the latest estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, which showed total bookstore sales up 2.7% in the month, to $2.02 billion. The December gain was the second-lowest monthly increase in 2000 and dragged down the year-end sales increase to 9.7%, with total bookstore sales hitting $15.3 billion in 2000. Bookstore sales nevertheless outperformed the entire retail segment in both December and the year; total retail sales were up 1.4% in December and 7.9% for 2000.