July bookstore sales fell 0.9%, to $745 million, compared to July 2015, according to preliminary estimates from the Census Bureau. This was the first drop in bookstore sales after 10 straight months of gains, a remarkable stretch in recent years. Despite the July slip, for the year to date, bookstore sales have risen 5.2%, to $6.185 billion.
Total retail sales in July rose 0.9%, to $461.8 billion. For the year to date, total retail sales have risen 2.8%, to $3,120 billion.
Note: under Census Bureau definitions, the bookstore category consists of "establishments primarily engaged in retailing a general line of new books. These establishments may also sell stationery and related items, second-hand books, and magazines."