May bookstore sales rose 1.7%, to $787 million, compared to May 2016, according to preliminary estimates from the Census Bureau. This marks the third month in a row bookstore sales have risen following three months of sales drops, going back to November 2016. For the first five months of the year, bookstore sales are $4.3 billion, essentially even with the same period in 2016.
Total retail sales in May rose 5.4%, to $496.9 billion. For the year to date, total retail sales have risen 4%, to $2,292.6 billion.
Note: under Census Bureau definitions, the bookstore category consists of "establishments primarily engaged in retailing new books."