From Press to Imprint: Examining UBC Press’ Acquisition of Purich Publishing

In December 2015, UBC Press announced the acquisition of Saskatchewan-based publisher Purich Publishing Ltd., whose founders were retiring. Within media industries like publishing, consolidation and conglomeration of multiple companies is a now a common practice. Industry insiders and business columnists endlessly discuss the contracts, prices paid, and asset values, but rarely is there any discussion about what happens after. For UBC Press, the acquisition was a strategic decision to reinvest in its business through the purchase of assets. The Press then faced the difficulty of how to suitably integrate these titles into its existing publishing program, including coordinating metadata, integrating stock, and assessing the marketing potential for these titles. There is also the consideration of the future of Purich as an imprint, and how to best utilize the existing brand and list, while keeping it distinct from UBC Press’ existing publishing program. This report looks at the trend of consolidation in publishing in the context of scholarly publishing in general, considers the business decision behind such an acquisition, takes a deep look at the logistics of assimilating another company, and offers analysis and recommendations based on the opportunities and challenges that UBC Press now faces.
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