Volunteers stack the shelves of the Twice Told Tales” bookstore’s new location on Maine Street in … [+]
Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
According to retail sales data recently released by the US Census Bureau, bookstores had a slow November: sales were down 7.31% over November of 2018, coming in at $697 million—the lowest November since 1993, which saw $692 million in sales before adjusting for inflation.
It’s important to note, though, that while November bookstore sales have been steadily declining since the 2008 financial crisis (sales were $1.23 billion in November of 2007), last year’s decrease is slightly tempered by the fact that November of 2018 was strong, seeing 10.10% growth over the same period in 2017. November of 2019 is actually up over 2017, too, by 2.05%. Compared to every year prior, though, last year’s penultimate month was slow.
Despite this one-month slowdown, however, the category reported year-to-date sales that were dramatically up in 2019: bookstores saw a 5.50% sales increase in the period of January through November over the same months in 2018. This marks the second increase the period has had since 2007—the first being 2018, which saw a 1.32% sales increase in January through November over the period in 2017.
December and January are typically major selling months for bookstores, due to the gift-giving holidays, so we’ll see next month if the rest of the year’s success holds true in that important period.