Lexis Quietly Acquires a Collection for Oxford University Press

This past week Lexis quietly acquired the a collection of  55 titles  from Oxford University Press US Law Division.  Now before you get too excited here’s the bummer – the collection does not include one of my personal favorites, the Oxford Dictionary of American Legal Quotations by Yale Law Librarian, Fred R Shapiro. ( I was assured this was not completely “off the table for the future.)The  Oxford titles include publications primarily in the Intellectual Property area. Another 30 publications  covering IP, Corporate, Environmental and Insurance Law will be added over. the next two years. These publications will become part of the LexisNexis portfolio of legal products. LexisNexis will develop e-book and online versions of this content – which  to date has only been available in print format.
 I spoke with  Steve Errick, VP & MD LexisNexis Legal & Professional; Errick described this acquisition as part of a  strategy to enhance Lexis analytical content offerings and to make them available in a variety of formats including, online and ebook offerings.

Errick noted that LexisNexis sells their e-books directly on their own web site, via Overdrive Lending solution and through Amazon. Since Lexis introduced e-books and print titles for sale on Amazon, over 40% of their sales through Amazon is e-book sales. Law student texts, practice titles in Criminal Law, Family Law and Property Law are among the leading categories sold through Amazon.

 What’s The Strategy?

Errick described this acquisition as part of a  strategy build authoritative commentary and analysis to  to be integrated with Practice Advisor . Practice Advisor is in head to head competition with Thomson Reuters which recently acquired Practical Law Company. Both companies are making major plays in the lawyer productivity space. Both PLC and Practice Advisor are designed to help lawyers enhance efficiency ie reduce the amount of time billed for drafting documents.These products provide templates, workflows, commentary and checklists.The addition of high quality analytical materials will be a key component in the development of this product.

Errick saw the opportunity  with  Oxford as mutually beneficial because the company didn’t have a great strategy for the legal marketplace. The Oxford titles will compliment the existing Matthew Bender treatise collection which Lexis Nexis will be intergrating into the Practice Advisor platform.

Karin Lieber,Sales, Strategic Accounts at LexisNexis – describes the search for content as an almost  archeological  effort. They are searching for “jewels of content which they need to put in the right setting.” IIf they can’t acquire all the content they need, they will devlop new content in-house to fill any gaps.

By Contrast Thomson Reuters….

It was only two month ago that Thomson Reuters announced they  shifting their focus away from  being a content provider to being a solutions provider. This was followed up in February with an announcement that they had  sold Foundation Press. Foundation was  the premier casebook publisher  of books with the distinctive navy blue buckram covers with gold tooled lettering which curved the spines of many a law student for generations. In early February Thomson Reuters has completed the sale of our Law School Publishing business to Eureka Growth Capital.

The Race For Content Diverges
So while LexisNexis and ThomsonReuters have some divergent approaches to the acqusition and retention of content, I can easily predict this will not be the last acquistion of 2013.