In May, bookstore sales jumped 12.3%, to $665 million, compared to May 2021, according to preliminary Census Bureau estimates. By comparison to pre-pandemic times, bookstore sales in May dropped 2.7% in relation to May 2019. For the year so far, sales have risen 18%, to $3.3 billion, compared to the first quarter of 2021.
Total retail sales in May rose 8.3%, to $698.2 billion, compared to May 2021. For the year to date, total retail sales have climbed 10.6%, to $3,228 billion.
Note: under Census Bureau definitions, the bookstore category consists of "establishments primarily engaged in retailing new books." The Bureau also added this unusual caution concerning the effect of Covid-19: "The Census Bureau continues to monitor response and data quality and has determined that estimates in this release meet publication standards."