The four major Swedish publishing houses are now selling their eBook company Elib to the Swedish IT company Axiell Group, whereby Elib gains a technology-intense owner that can power eBook development into the future. Axiell has acquired 70 per cent of the company, while the publishers Bonniers, Norstedts, Natur & Kultur and Piratförlaget are keeping 30 per cent
Elib was established in 2000 to meet the market's eBook demand, and has come to function as the hub of the Swedish digital book market. In Sweden, eBook sales constitute a few per cent of the market, compared to the USA where some 20 per cent of all books sold are eBooks.
Even so, growth has been considerable. In five years, sales have risen from 470 eBooks per month, to around 25,000 at the present time. During the same period, the lending of eBooks in libraries has risen from 7,600 per month to 130,000.
– This is a really inspiring deal for us to go forward with. Elib has pioneered the market and laid solid ground for developing the eBook industry in Sweden. We look forward to both running and developing Elib together with our customers and the publishing houses, who remain as owners, says Joel Sommerfeldt, CEO, Axiell Group.
Axiell Group anticipates a positive development for eBook business in Sweden, and looks forward to continue being a natural partner to all the publishers. Going forward, the company also envisages collaboration with players such as Apple, Google and Amazon.
The commercial eBook market, with Elib as leading distributor, has grown in orderly fashion, without the extensive piracy and copyright infringement disputes that other media industries have suffered during the past decades of digitalization.
–Axiell's acquisition of Elib is proof of how highly rated the company's track record is, says Carl Hamilton, chairman of Piratförlaget and chairman of Elib. This is the right time for us to entrust the business to an owner with comprehensive experience in the field of technology, strong leadership and appropriate values to meet the increasing demands of a growing digital market.
Elib will continue in its current structure, and form part of Axiell Group AB. Eva Houltzén from Axiell Education & Media is appointed new managing director of Elib.
About Axiell Group
Axiell Group is an IT company that has been doing business for 30 years. The company has specialised in providing services to the culture sector, archives, museums and libraries. Over the last years, the company has expanded considerably and is today a global player; offering advanced and tailored solutions to customers in many parts of the world. One of the major fields of business in Sweden is service to libraries, a sector where the company has well-established and very sound relationships. Axiell Group's turnover 2014 amounted to SEK 405 million, a 20 per cent increase compared to the previous year.
Elib has 14 employees and a 2014 turnover exceeding SEK 60 million, a 15 per cent increase compared to the previous year. Elib is market leader in the Nordic countries regarding distribution of digital books. Elib was founded in 2000 and has been jointly owned by Bonnierförlagen, Natur & Kultur, Norstedts förlagsgrupp och Piratförlaget. Elib produces and distributes digital books in various forms, such as eBooks, digital audiobooks and streaming audiobooks. The company's clients are publishers, Internet bookstores and libraries.
Axiell serves libraries, schools, archives, museums and authorities with technically advanced and innovative solutions developed in close cooperation with its customers. More than 1000 library organisations with thousands of branches use an Axiell library management system and Axiell Arena, a tool for the virtual library. The systems for archives and museums, are used by over 2600 archives and museums over the world. More than 3000 schools use an Axiell system. The Axiell Group, with its Headquarter based in Lund has more than 260 employees, has offices in Sweden, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the UK and in the USA. Together, we form the one of the world's largest companies in these sectors.