RLJ Equity Acquires Media Source, Owner Of School Library Journal & Others

School Library Journal

If you’ve ever wondered how certain books wind up on library shelves, or how your children’s school librarian chooses which books to buy, the answer is due in part to three publications called Library Journal, School Library Journal and Horn Book and a buying service called Junior Library Guild. Those properties, all owned by parent company Media Source, run thousands of book reviews each year and are used by over 100,000 librarians. Ownership of the Ohio-based Media Source has now changed hands.

Bethesda, Md.-based private equity firm RLJ Equity Partners is the new owner of Media Source. Media Source was previously owned by New York-based private equity firm Riverside Company. Both RLJ and Riverside specialize in middle-market companies.

Media Source bought Library Journal and School Library Journal from Reed Business Information in 2010.

Media Source’s acquisition has been in the works for awhile, said Andrew Thorne, the company’s VP, marketing. “Riverside first acquired Media Source with the expectation that we would grow the business, and at some point they would realize their investment by selling to another organization,” he said. “In terms of what it means from a day-to-day standpoint, it should be fairly invisible to our customers, suppliers, readers and even employees.” RLJ brings “a new set of areas of expertise and renewed enthusiasm about Media Source.”

“Librarians truly appreciate [Media Source]’s editorials, reviews and book selections, and their book choices often go on to receive literary awards,” said RLJ managing director Daphne Dufresne. “Subscribers view The Library Journal and School Library Journal as ‘must own,’ so we like that too.”

School Library Journal has 29,200 print subscribers (current subscription price: $88.99/year for 12 issues) and 200,000 monthly unique visitors to its website. Library Journal has 17,500 print subscribers ($157.99/year for 20 issues) and 196,000 monthly uniques. Horn Book has 8,500 readers ($49/year for six issues). And Media Source’s service Junior Library Guild helps librarians build their collections; it has over 19,000 users.

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