ATG Newsflash: Against the Grain Releases Special Report on Industry Consolidation of Library Service Companies

Leading Thinkers Give Their Take on Industry Consolidation by Year 2026


treeCHARLESTON, SC, June 2016 – The June issue of Against the Grain (ATG) will feature a special report on industry consolidation of library service companies.  Against the Grain and its online website, the ATG NewsChannel, report on the latest issues that impact the world of books and journals.  David Parker, Senior VP at Alexander Street Press wrote the report entitled, Industry Consolidation in the Information Services and Library Environment:  Perspectives from Thought Leaders.  The report asks leading thinkers from libraries and library service companies to speculate on the future impact of industry consolidation.

“We received a solid mix of responses that paint a picture that captures a number of important themes, commented Parker.  Themes such as:

  • Information consumers will rule and win
  • Cost per access/use will keep going down
  • The boundaries of the library and the companies that serve them will keep moving out
  • The cloud and open source, services, and content will become more central

The report is a synthesis of opinions from librarians and leaders from library service companies. “We asked respondents to consider the changing needs of the library and the pace of consolidation and give us their take on what the library content and services environment will look like in ten years,” says Parker. Industry consolidation is a decade’s old controversy between librarians and the companies who service them.  Librarians want choice and companies that offer value.  Library service companies, consolidating at a rapid pace, view a growth strategy as a way to offer full service to customers as well as complementary services.

Respondents were asked to think forward to 2026 and factor in everything from demand-driven models to open access and to provide their thoughts on the impact of industry consolidation. “The librarian in me wants choice and instinctively doubts consolidation increases choice,” said Dennis Brunning of the Arizona State University Library and a participant in the report. Tim Collins, President & CEO, EBSCO Industries, Inc., another participant, offers his take on consolidation, “The sheer fact of a merger should not be the concern, instead, what is critical is whether the new entity maintains and consistently improves their product, provides quality service and keeps pricing fair.”

Parker, who also writes a column for ATG called The Blurring Line regularly reports on industry trends and on the people and companies pushing them forward.  He summarizes what he found in writing the report, “Our conception of industry consolidation has typically been confined to known or predictable players coming together through acquisition or merger. In the future it is more likely to be new entrants we did not consider as likely players and they will enter the market to deliver institutional services and solutions as a priority over content.”

(Look forward to a summary and synthesis of the report from Parker in

a coming issue of ATG.)


About Against the Grain:

Against the Grain (ISSN: 1043-2094) is your key to the latest news about libraries, publishers, book jobbers, and subscription agents. Our goal is to link publishers, vendors, and librarians by reporting on the issues, literature, and people that impact the world of books and journals.

There are two distinct components of Against the Grain: the print journal that is published six times a year, in February, April, June, September, and November and December/January, and the ATG NewsChannel website ( that is updated daily with the latest news, announcements, and online-only content. Although the majority of the online content is open access, our website also allows subscribers to have full-text access to the print issues with a username and password log in. The print and online subscriptions are bundled: an online user account accompanies your print subscription.

Contact Leah Hinds, Against the Grain:  843-353-1181


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