Bloomsbury Acquisition of ABC-CLIO To Strengthen Tech, Market Reach

Bloomsbury Publishing purchased ABC-CLIO in December 2021 for $22.9 million, bringing ABC-CLIO’s four imprints and 32 databases into U.K.-based Bloomsbury’s academic and professional division.

ABC-CLIO logoBloomsbury Publishing purchased ABC-CLIO in December 2021 for $22.9 million, bringing ABC-CLIO’s four imprints and 32 databases into U.K.-based Bloomsbury’s academic and professional division.

Becky Snyder, co-owner of ABC-CLIO, has 35 years with the company, which was founded in 1955. She noted that from her company’s perspective Bloomsbury was an optimal fit, as leadership looked at options to carry on the ABC-CLIO legacy. The imprints Praeger, Greenwood, and ABC-CLIO Solutions, as well as the company’s databases, often focus on historical and current events topics, presenting overviews, chronologies, primary sources, and analysis primarily for use in high school and up. Libraries Unlimited publishes educational and professional content for library and information service professionals.

One of the most compelling areas of opportunity Bloomsbury offered, Snyder said, was its strength and investment in current and future technology, which will allow ABC-CLIO products to continue the company’s commitment to scholarship while navigating accessibility standards, privacy protection, and emerging platforms and distribution formats. “With more resources we can pull in more content and pull in more learning tools,” while expanding reach from primarily North America into the worldwide market, Snyder noted.

However, “We aren’t going to become one monolithic reference,” Snyder said. “Bloomsbury is committed to our author base,” and ABC-CLIO has commitment to scholarship and a “long history of working with a variety of top scholars for print and ebook coverage.”

Kathryn Earle, managing director of Bloomsbury’s digital resources division, said Bloomsbury has long admired the ABC-CLIO content, “the heart of any digital product,” and its decades-long reputation for quality reference beginning with middle school through high school and beyond. Bloomsbury will gain penetration into the U.S. core school market from the merger, and has the financial resources to nurture and expand ABC-CLIO products and support them in technology innovations and user experience enhancements. “I am excited this purchase allows us to engage the U.S. core market, with the ability to invest and develop,” said Earle, while keeping ABC-CLIO’s dynamic diversity of authors and topic coverage.



Gricel Dominguez, a librarian at the Hubert Library at Florida International University, sees exciting opportunities become possible with the purchase, as the merged companies might combine rich resources and open up options for new collections and packages of resources.

Collections strategist for University of Connecticut (UConn) Library’s scholarly collections Michael Rodriquez sees the company’s strengths as complementary. “I think of ABC-CLIO as being strongest in social science and current affairs with U.S. coverage,” while Bloomsbury excels at meeting the needs of graduate and faculty researchers, particularly in the arts, he says. He also noted that the sale has the potential to strengthen both companies: bringing ABC-CLIO a more worldwide presence, and helping Bloomsbury make its content more available in North America and in K–14 schools and in public libraries.

In addition to finalizing the ABC-CLIO purchase in December, Bloomsbury earlier in 2021 purchased indie publisher Head of Zeus as an addition to its consumer division, and acquired Red Globe Publishing, an academic imprint, from Macmillan Education Limited.

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