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Former publisher buys Publisher's Weekly
The Elephant doesn't read the trades.

Reed Business Information finally found a buyer for the publishing industry trade magazine.


Publisher's Weekly has been sold to one of its former publishers. Continuing its radical weight-loss regime, Reed Business Information has trimmed another title from its list, selling Publishers Weekly, the bible of the book publishing industry, to a former publisher of the magazine, George Slowik Jr.

Mr. Slowik's newly formed company, PWxyz LLC, announced the acquisition on Monday. Terms were not disclosed.

The deal was part of Reed Business's ongoing efforts to sell off most of its business-to-business titles—a campaign that began after parent Reed Elsevier was unable to find a buyer for the trade publishing unit after putting it on the block two years ago.

Reed Business has sold a slew of titles in the past year, including television industry trade journals B&C and MultiChannel News. Finding a home for a magazine that covers book publishing and bookselling—two industries in transition—has proved harder.

Mr. Slowik, who was publisher of the magazine from the mid-1980s until 1993, said that he will keep all of the New York City-based publication's editorial, art and advertising employees. The acquisition includes the publication's Web site and Publishers Weekly Show Daily, a publication put out during the annual Book Expo America trade show.

In an interview, the new owner said that he's bullish on Publishers Weekly's future, noting that the magazine is profitable. With its daily, weekly and monthly online newsletters, it has a bigger audience than ever, he said.

A top priority will be digitizing the 138-year-old magazine's archives, particularly its reviews, which go back to the 1940s. “There's a treasure trove in that information,” Mr. Slowik said.

The growth in sales of e-books and an expected legal settlement that will eventually allow Google to begin selling digitized, out-of-print books will all work in favor of the publication, he added.

“It will bring thousands of previously unmarketed and out of print books into play,” Mr. Slowik said. “[Publishers Weekly] has the discerning view of those titles.”