In another indicator of the evolving media landscape, Reed Elsevier announced yesterday that it is planning to sell both “Variety” and “Publisher’s Weekly,” two magazines that once were gold standards for their industries but which are increasingly being outcompeting by new media. “Variety” is one of the few trade publications that is a household name. One of Elsevier’s big profit centers today is Lexis-Nexis, which earned the firm nearly $1 billion last year.
Reed Elsevier is an interesting company to me. It is named for the great Dutch printer and intellectual hero Louis Elsevier, who was responsible for, among other things, smuggling Galileo’s banned works out of Italy to be published abroad. (If memory serves, he also published Kepler.) Elsevier remains a huge (and often unpopular) player in the world of ideas because of it dominates the market for academic journals. You’d be surprised by how hot the disputes over academic journals can get. See here, for instance.
Reader of Tetraheddon Letters are apparently a thrifty bunch.