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R.R. Bowker To Acquire PubNet

Press release from the issuing company

Company To Purchase Remaining 75 Percent of "Direct Ordering" E-Commerce Service from Leading Trade Associations NEW PROVIDENCE, N.J.--May 3, 2002--R.R. Bowker, a leading publisher of bibliographic information and one of the most venerable names in the publishing industry, today announced that it has agreed to acquire PubNet, an electronic commerce service that allows booksellers to order titles directly from publishers. Bowker has owned 25 percent of the company since its public launch in 1997. The other three owners of PubNet, each of whom owns 25 percent as well, are the Association of American Publishers (AAP), the American Booksellers Association (ABA) and the National Association of College Stores (NACS). Bowker will purchase the remaining 75 percent of PubNet that it does not currently own (specific financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed). PubNet will be operated as a stand-alone business unit of R.R. Bowker, with the existing management team remaining in place. In addition, representatives from the AAP, ABA and NACS will remain involved as special advisors to Bowker on the future development of PubNet. "Together with Bowker, three non-profit organizations started PubNet as a bold e-commerce model for empowering booksellers with the ability to order titles directly from publishers and distributors," said Ed Schlichenmayer, vice president of industry services for NACS. "PubNet has grown substantially and provided a substantial service to AAP, NACS and ABA membership. All three are pleased that Bowker will own the business and can provide the resources and strategic commitment to take the service to new levels. We're delighted that Bowker will provide that corporate ownership and we all look forward to remaining involved with PubNet as it enters a new era of growth." According to Michael Cairns, president of New Providence, N.J.-based R.R. Bowker, PubNet is subscribed to by more than 3,000 booksellers nationwide. "PubNet streamlines the labor-intensive ordering process so that booksellers can spend more time with their customers," said Cairns. "It features fast response ordering and invoicing capabilities, and is powered by a searchable database of more than 500,000 titles. PubNet is becoming the publishing industry's leading e-commerce system, connecting thousands of book publishers, suppliers, distributors and retailers."