Baker & Taylor Sold

Castle Harlan, the New York-based private equity investment firm, announced today that a fund it manages has agreed to buy privately held Baker & Taylor, a leading domestic and international distributor of books and entertainment products to libraries and retailers, in a transaction valued at $455 million.

Baker & Taylor, founded in 1828, is the world's leading distributor of books, video, and music products to public and academic libraries. It is also a global leader in the distribution of books and entertainment products to many of the country's leading retailers. More here and here.


ProQuest is in a fight for survival

The accounting problems at ProQuest Co. raise questions about whether the company will continue to exist - at least under that name - even as it begins moving into a new $34 million headquarters building on Eisenhower Parkway next Monday.

ProQuest, the Ann Arbor, MI, based company which employs 650 people locally, is a provider of electronic archived information and learning materials. The company has been in the midst of an internal investigation into accounting problems that led the public company to overstate its revenues by more than $80 million in just under five years. More At The Ann Arbor News.


Frankfurt Book Fair admits defeat over London expo

Monsters and Reports The organizers of the Frankfurt Book Fair admitted defeat Friday in a competition to host a book expo next April in London, but said they would seek ways to sue the Earls Court exhibition ground.

On May 5, the Germans shocked the book publishing world by announcing they planned to hold a 2007 spring book fair in central London, in a direct challenge to the London Book Fair set to take place in spring in a remote part of London, the Docklands.


HW Wilson : the Google of the 20th century

Anonymous Patron writes ""We like to think of ourselves as the Google of the 20th century," says HW Wilson Company Vice President Jim Phelan. "Before the Internet age people used to have to go to books and magazines to get information, and they still do. Our company provides indexes to make that very efficient in terms of gathering data from those sources."

NY1's celebration of Bronx Week continues with a look inside a company that has helped students all over the country do their homework for more than 100 years. NY1's Dean Meminger filed this report."



cjovalle writes: "Here's a scary story I first encountered at Apparently, either code or human error caused one copy of every item in a PSU library ordered since May 2001 to be reordered when someone attempted to update the system to daylight savings time. I hear stories about ILS's fairly often (not allowing deleting without losing everything, using different keys to do the same thing depending on the screen, other usability issues), but nothing like this! Are there other troubling stories out there?"

Access to Global Online Research in Agriculture

The AGORA program, set up by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) together with major publishers, enables developing countries to gain access to an outstanding digital library collection in the fields of food, agriculture, environmental science and related social sciences. AGORA provides a collection of 849 journals to institutions in 69 countries. AGORA is designed to enhance the scholarship of the many thousands of students, faculty and researchers in agriculture and life sciences in the developing world.

Reinventing Scholarly Publishing

A trio of excellent posts from T. Scott's blog. Reinventing Scholarly Publishing, Talking With Elsevier and Talking With Publishers.He was asked to come to a meeting and talk about his "vision of the library of the future." The audience was 100 senior managers of Elsevier.

"When I talk to librarians about the society publishers, I point out that we share the same goals -- to distribute the literature as widely as possible. The societies need to make money in order to do that. With the for-profit publishers the terms are flipped -- they distribute the literature in order to make money. So our goals and theirs are necessarily in a different kind of tension. It doesn't mean that we can't find a way to be productive partners -- but I think it will require a greater degree of willingness, on both sides, to listen and learn."

BBC: Online publisher's European move

Anonymous Patron writes "BBC News looks at, who has just announced plans for five new European sites as part of its global expansion.
Lulu allows readers to download single copies of books stored on its site without needing huge print runs, and thus helps would-be authors into print.

The five new sites, to be phased in, will be in Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Holland.
What eBay did for auctions - "enabling the hidden 90% of would-be sellers" - the 51-year-old from Hamilton, Ontario, hopes to do for publishing and would-be authors."


Amazon under fire on books as Google debate rages

Anonymous Patron writes " came under fire from Britain's book publishing and retailing industries on Monday even as the debate raged over a perceived threat presented by Google.

The chief executive of HarperCollins UK, said she feared the online book seller more than the Web search leader, which has created a stir with plans to digitize every book.

"We all want to talk about Google, but personally I see Amazon as a bigger threat because Amazon has shown a lot of signs that they actually want to move into the publishing space," said Victoria Barnsley."


ProQuest, Amazon, Dissertations and Trouble

Amanda French writes "ProQuest, the provider of Dissertation Abstracts, announced (rather quietly) a partnership with Amazon to sell dissertations through Dissertations were briefly available through (roughly from December 2005 to February 2006), but they have since disappeared. Dissertations that cost $45 to order from ProQuest were available as downloadable PDFs for $55 through Amazon. Only the astute librarians at Case Western Reserve University noticed, evidently.

The sudden and silent disappearance of dissertations from Amazon might or might not be due to ProQuest's new legal and financial trouble. ProQuest announced February 8th or 9th that it had discovered accounting irregularities in its Information and Learning division. Several lawsuits on behalf of shareholders have followed."


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