Alongside libraries, traditional “brick-and-mortar” bookstores have served as an important gateway to humanities content for the American public. In recent years, however, the U.S. Census Bureau has documented a precipitous decline in the number of traditional stores.

V-28a: Number of Brick-and-Mortar Bookstores and Employees, 1992–2016*

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* Complete data not available for all years.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, County Business Patterns (American FactFinder, accessed April 24, 2019). Data analyzed and presented by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Humanities Indicators (

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