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Bookstores Just Can’t Catch a Break

Yep, it’s that time of the month again: PW Daily broke the bad news this morning about yet another month of declining bookstore sales. This time, the U.S. Census Bureau is saying sales slipped to $1.10 billion in May, a 4.3 percent drop from the previous month, and that the January-to-May tally for 2007 of $6.2 billion is just as diminished when compared to last year’s numbers. Plus, as usual, these dropping numbers run counter to the gains in the broader retail sector.

It was mildly bemusing to come back from my lunchtime errands to find an anonymous email asking why we hadn’t posted about this yet. “Sales are down over 4 percent and you don’t mention it,” this reader wondered. “Is this because you don’t like reporting bad news?” I don’t know if I’d use the word “like,” exactly, but rest assured that we have indeed followed this story from one month to the next, and we’re just as interested in how book sales can be up while bookstore revenues are down as you are.

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