After falling 4% in 2020, the Publishers Weekly Stock Index had a strong rebound in 2021, rising 32%—well ahead of the 18.7% gain posted by the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Last year saw a reversal of fortune for several companies on the PWSI, particularly for Educational Development Corp. and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. At the end of 2020, HMH’s stock price had fallen 46.7% from the beginning of that year, as the company staggered under slow demand for K–12 educational publishing materials and another round of layoffs while working to reposition itself as a technology learning company. In 2021, HMH’s stock price skyrocketed 383.5%, as the company began showing signs that it was executing its new strategy, selling its trade division to News Corp and using the proceeds to pay down its debt. HMH reported big gains in sales and earnings for both the third quarter and the nine-month period ended October 30, and it raised its revenue guidance for all of 2021.

EDC had the exact opposite experience in 2021. At the close of 2020, its stock price was riding high, with the company’s sales and profits exploding as the number of its mostly home-based sales reps soared and demand for its books that center on educating and entertaining children jumped. Sales softened as more schools reopened, however, and investors have apparently come to believe that EDC’s financial results have peaked, leading its stock price to fall 41.1% in the year. Analysts’ concerns seem to be justified: on January 6, EDC reported that for the nine months ended Nov. 30, 2021, sales fell 45.4% and profits declined 23.8%.

Several other PWSI companies’ stock prices benefitted from improvement in educational spending in 2021. Scholastic’s stock price fell 35% in 2020, due largely to the plunge in revenue from the publisher’s book fairs, many of which were canceled when schools were closed. The fair business rebounded faster than management expected in fall 2021, and Scholastic also saw strong gains in its educational solutions business. With that good news, its stock price rose 59.8%, to $39.96 per share, on Dec. 31, 2021—4% higher than on Dec. 31, 2019.

Barnes & Noble Education had a volatile year, with investors hoping that the reopening of colleges would translate into better financial results for the company. But in B&NE’s biggest quarter, which ended Oct. 30, 2021, the company missed analysts’ expectations for both sales and earnings growth. Though B&NE’s share price finished up 46.4% in 2021, its December 31 $6.81 share price was well below its 52-week high of $11.85 from October 8.

John Wiley’s stock price benefitted from generally good quarterly reports and increased 25.4% in the year, after a down 2020. Its $57.27 per share price was 18% higher than its trading price on Dec. 31, 2019.