On December 22, 1016 comes a new data release from the BEA (Bureau of Economic Analysis) from the last revision last Nov. 22, 2016.
On our particular industry on books retail line 31 S4 Book, periodical, and music stores - the 4th quarter of 2015 had 4,065 from 2015's 3rd quarter of 3,937 vs. 2014's 4th/3rd quarter of 3,865 and 3,876. This year 2016 - 3rd quarter was 3,964 and 2nd quarter was 4,044.
Then looking at line 35 S4 on Used Merchandise Stores, the 4th quarter had 4,037 and 4,154 on the 3rd quarter of 2015. 2014's 4th quarter was 3,820 and the 3rd quarter was 3,907. 2016's 3rd quarter is 3,976 and 2nd quarter is 3,940.
On line 37 S2 Electronic Shopping and mail order houses (Nonstore retailers) 2015's 4th quarter was 112,187, 3rd quarter for 2015 was 109,582 versus 2014's 4th and 3rd quarter of 100,752 and 97,741. 2016's 3rd quarter is 124,191 and 2nd quarter is 121,019.
Hovering at this data, the true facts over the years are that the 2nd quarter is the back to school time and the 4th quarter is the holidays. Hence, the 3rd quarter is usually a drop in between for bookselling. Used merchandise had a growth in the 3rd quarter of 2016 as this category is general meaning it embodies all used merchandise where clothing plays a big factor as well.
Although line 38 S2 Electronic Shopping is also general in category, it is said that since 2012 to 2016, books online shopping has been a growing trend in this category. Although, a typical traditional book buyer still goes to a book retail store front, it is a fact that online book sales has consistently grown over the years.
So from traditional big book online marketplaces also comes the typical brand big box retailers like Sears.com or even technology websites like Newegg.com now augmenting a lot of accessory sales on what they carry with new release books.
Textbooks still plays a big chunk online for students but new release books has been growing more and more than used books. This is especially true with fiction, juvenile fictions, and bestsellers like Harry Potter's "Fantastic Beasts".
As the online space continous to grow in the bookselling industry, still the typical challenges are there for independent bookstores and online book sellers. From the dominance of mighty Amazon, minimum wage, health care for employees to "Still" lack of working capital and expansion for warehousing and home offices.
Thus, this is what faces the upcoming Trump administration's slogan of making America Great Again. Now that a billionaire businessman takes over the US Presidency, lies the question of how this administration will role out it's economic policies fitted for small business in industries that had grown over the years.
Come 2017, the data speaks as well as the problems faced by independent booksellers.