Bookstore sales finished a soft third quarter by falling again in September. According to preliminary figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, sales in the month dropped 3.8%, to $1.53 billion. Sales for all of retail rose 8.1% in September. For the first nine months of 2004, bookstore sales were down 0.5%, to $12.43 billion, compared to a 7.8% increase for the entire retail segment.