ProQuest has done it again. Just two years after the acquisition of ebrary, they announced today plans to acquire EBL. EBL, a global ebook aggregator, was founded in 2004 and offers over 300,000 titles in their collection. They have long been a competitor for ebrary, offering similar monograph content to academic and special libraries worldwide.
Library customers of ebrary and EBL can expect business as usual until the conclusion of the approval period. After that however, the tides will change. Responding to specific questions from No Shelf Required, Kevin Sayar, Senior Vice President, ProQuest Workflow Solutions, said, “Until the approval period is over, ProQuest/ebrary and EBL will operate as separate companies with their respective content and acquisition models remaining the same. Customers for both companies will not experience any changes at this time. ebrary and EBL shared around 200 publishers, and have most of the big ones in common. There are some publishers that ebrary has and EBL does not and vice versa, so respective customers could potentially gain more content upon the deal closing. After closing the deal, the best features of EBL and ebrary will be combined on a single platform after approximately 18 months. At this point the timeline is a target and is subject to change.”
ProQuest has not yet determined if there will be a library advisory group to help with the transition. Sayar commented, “We are appreciative of our customers’ needs and will solicit their feedback through other means during this period.”
One of the attractions to the EBL service is the ability to use the Non-Linear Lending purchasing model as well as purchase book chapters. ProQuest realizes the importance of these features and plans to incorporate them into the new service. Sayar stated, “A major reason ProQuest wished to acquire EBL was to extend their innovative business models, including the patent-protected Non-Linear Lending (NLL) model and chapter-level purchasing. Once integration starts after closing, the team will go through exercises to determine the best parameters for our customers and their patrons within our publisher contracts.”
I look forward to hearing more about the transition of these two prominent ebook aggregators. I plan to meet with Sayar and Kari Paulson, EBL’s President, during the ALA Midwinter meeting and will report more on the acquisition and platform merger plans.
The full press release from ProQuest:
ProQuest Signs Definitive Agreement to Acquire EBL
Company to combine EBL and ebrary into a single, best-of-breed e-book platform
(ANN ARBOR, Mich.) – ProQuest, an information company central to global research, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Ebook Library (EBL), which will significantly expand its e-book delivery and aggregation capabilities with libraries worldwide. The acquisition will further ProQuest’s goal of enhancing the research experience, enabling users to seamlessly discover content across multiple formats including books, journals, dissertations, newspapers, and video. ProQuest acquired e-book pioneer ebrary in January 2011 and plans to combine the strongest features of ebrary and EBL into a single, comprehensive e-book platform once finalized.
“EBL’s first-rate user experience, innovative business models, and acquisition tools are very complementary to ebrary,” said Kurt Sanford, ProQuest CEO. “These features will be combined with ebrary’s unmatched content selection, award-wining subscription service, and cutting edge, patent-protected core platform technology. The result will be an unparalleled e-book research platform that is connected to all of ProQuest’s products and services.”
Founded in 2004 by Ebooks Corporation, EBL pioneered a wide range of new services in the library market, including the patented Non-Linear™ Lending (NLL) model, demand-driven acquisitions, short-term loans, and chapter-level purchases for reserve circulation and coursepacks. EBL offers more than 300,000 e-books from more than 500 publishers to libraries around the world and counts some of the world’s most prestigious academic and research institutions among its customers.
Kari Paulson, EBL’s President, will join ProQuest to manage the combined e-book business unit and lead the effort to merge EBL and ebrary into one optimized platform. “From the beginning, EBL’s vision has been to advance research and knowledge through technology,” said Ms. Paulson. “I look forward to joining ProQuest and to have the opportunity to be part of an organization with the very same goal.”
Kari will report to Kevin Sayar, Senior Vice President, ProQuest Workflow Solutions, who said, “I have long respected what Kari has accomplished at EBL and I’m looking forward to working with her to push the boundaries of how e-books are provided to libraries and used by patrons.”
About Ebook Library (www.eblib.com)
Ebook Library (EBL) is a leading global ebook aggregator, serving academic, corporate and research libraries worldwide. With an impressive catalog of ebook titles from premier international academic publishers, EBL is renowned as a pioneer of flexible, innovative access models such as Patron-driven Acquisition and the esteemed Non-Linear™ Lending model. EBL is a division of Ebooks Corporation Limited, an Australian public company founded in 1997, with additional distribution channels that include ebook retail site ebooks.com(www.ebooks.com) and Ebook Services for publishers (www.ebookservices.com).
About ProQuest (www.proquest.com)
ProQuest connects people with vetted, reliable information. Key to serious research, the company has forged a 70-year reputation as a gateway to the world’s knowledge — from dissertations to governmental and cultural archives to news, in all its forms. Its role is essential to libraries and other organizations whose missions depend on the delivery of complete, trustworthy information.
ProQuest’s massive information pool is made accessible in research environments that accelerate productivity, empowering users to discover, create, and share knowledge.
An energetic, fast-growing organization, ProQuest includes the ProQuest®, Bowker®, Dialog®, ebrary®, and Serials Solutions® businesses and notable research tools such as the RefWorks®, and Pivot™ services, as well as its Summon® web-scale discovery service. The company is headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with offices around the world.