'Publishers Weekly' Hears Warning Shots as Reed Elsevier Sells Two Magazines

Two months ago, Reed Elsevier's (RUK) Reed Business Information warned that it would do everything it could to unload its magazine division -- which include trade publications Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and School Library Journal -- and would shut down publications that weren't performing. Reed announced Monday that it's found a buyer for Library Journal and School Library Journal, but its endangered publishing-industry bible, Publishers Weekly, still faces the executioner.

LJ and SLJ have been sold to private-equity firm Riverside Co.'s Media Source, based in Dublin, Ohio. Media Source also owns the Junior Library Guild and The Horn Book, a Boston-based children's literature company. In a press release Monday morning, Media Source CEO Randall Asmo said the magazines "deserve a corporate home focused on libraries."

But the sale means Publishers Weekly will lose its group publisher, Ron Shank, and editorial director, Brian Kenney, to Media Source. PW had recently been bundled editorially with LJ and SLJ. PW's associate publisher Cevin Bryerman will become its publisher, and its co-editorial directors are Michael Coffey, moving up from executive managing editor, and Jim Milliot, PW's longtime business and news director.

A source familiar with the situation told PaidContent (and confirms to us) that all staff had been called into a 9:30 a.m. meeting to discuss the periodical's future. Though PW stays put for now, it remains to be seen how long the magazine will last.

Speculation has it that PW will continue to publish until the end May, giving the magazine its last chance to cover Book Expo America, the annual industry trade show, scheduled for May 26-27, and for which PW produces an elaborate printed daily magazine that attracts significant advertising. If PW doesn't have a buyer by then, Reed may run out of patience, and shut the magazine down after all.

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