In October, bookstore sales dipped 2.9%, to $636 million, compared to October 2021, according to preliminary Census Bureau estimates. By comparison to pre-pandemic times, bookstore sales in October were 0.5% higher than in October 2019. For the year to date, bookstore sales have risen 7.5%, to $7.2 billion compared to the first 10 months of 2021.
Total retail sales in October rose 4.8%, to $668.6 billion, compared to October 2021. For the year to date, total retail sales have climbed 9.9%, to $6,679 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."