After plunging in 2008 and skyrocketing in 2009, the Publishers Weekly Stock Index settled down in 2010, posting a solid 14.0% gain in the year, an increase that was slightly ahead of the 11.0% increase turned in by the Dow Jones Industrial Average. While the three bookstores on the PWSI were among the five companies whose stock prices fell in the year, a retailer turned in the biggest gain. Hastings Entertainment, which posted a 1.5% revenue increase in the first nine months of 2010 and kept its net loss even, had a 37.2% increase in the year and was well up over the $1.73 per share the stock was selling for at the end of 2008. Although it has little in the way of digital offerings, Hastings has had success selling used and bargain items.

The biggest gainer in terms of dollar growth was digital powerhouse Amazon, which added $45.48 per share in 2010; its stock price was up 251% since the end of 2008. Amazon's stock price continued to climb early last week, hitting 52-week highs. The very different performances of Amazon and the traditional bookstore chains is a clear indication of the way investors believe all of retailing is moving, and the news keeps getting worse at Borders. Since Borders announced at the end of December that it had stopped paying some vendors and is in talks with publishers about new financing arrangements, the company's stock price has continued to drop and was selling for under $1 per share. B&N's share price, however, improved last week, benefitting from an upgrade from Credit Suisse, which pointed out that the possible demise of Borders would mean more business for B&N.

The only company on the PWSI whose stock price fell in 2009, Courier Corp., had an 8.9% increase in 2010 driven by an improved operating performance, particularly in its printing division; the stock price, however, was still below the $17.90 per share it was selling for at the end of 2008.

Stock Watch, 2010

Company Dec. 31, 2009 Dec. 31, 2010 % Change
Hastings Ent. 4.46 6.12 37.2%
CBS 14.05 19.05 35.4
Amazon 134.52 180.00 33.8
Disney 32.25 37.51 16.3
Educational Dev. Corp. 6.00 6.85 14.2
Pearson 14.36 15.89 10.6
Courier Corp. 14.25 15.52 8.9
McGraw-Hill 33.51 36.41 8.6
John Wiley 41.88 45.24 8.0
Reed Elsevier 32.79 33.63 2.5
Scholastic 29.83 29.54 -1.0
Books-A-Million 6.72 5.80 -13.7
R.R. Donnelley 22.27 17.47 -21.5
Borders Group 1.18 .90 -23.7
Barnes & Noble 19.07 14.15 -25.8
PWSI 407.14 464.08 14.0
Dow Jones Average 10,428.05 11,577.51 11.0